Yanagawa is located to the south of Fukuoka, about an hour and a half by train. The small town is famous for its canal system, which has a total length of about 450 km. The main tourist attraction of Yanagawa is the boat tour along these canals.
There are six tour operators conducting boat tours along the canals. However, the most popular one is located on the railway station building itself, and therefore is easy to locate. There is a free shuttle service from the station to the boat terminal.
The term "Yanagawa" means willow river. Most of the canals are lined up with willow trees.
The start of the journey
The canals had been built around the ancient castle and other building, so there were many buildings, monuments and shrines near the river bank. The boatment explained these to us, although I could not capture all of it with my Japanese.
They say the boat tour is at its bets during autumn, with all the colored leaves. One bad thing about combining travel with conferences is that I cannot select when to go :o(. But still, the town office and residents make sure that there are some flowers to be seen from the banks all year round.
There were many houses by the canal at the starting point. However, the surroundings becomes more natural as we proceed.
A traditional fishing trap.
Some bridges are quite narrow, just enough for the boat to pass through.
There are shops and restaurants along the banks, selling crushed ice, ice cream, and drinks. We stopped by one, to buy "Kaki Gori" (crushed ice).
Towards the latter half of the journey, the boatman sang a couple of songs. He singing was great, but I cannot guarantee that all boatmen sing :-p.
The tour took about an hour and a half, and was a great, relaxing experience.