Showing posts with label boat. Show all posts
Showing posts with label boat. Show all posts

Monday, July 31, 2023

Kanko Maru


The Kanko Maru was Japan's first modern warship. Following the forced opening of Japan by Perry's Black Ships the Shogunate realized they needed to modernize their defenses and asked their friends the Dutch for help. In 1855 they gave them one of their steamships operating in the Dutch East Indies. It was built in 1853 and was a three-masted schooner with an auxiliary steam engine powering side paddles.

It was scrapped in 1879 but a faithful replica was built from the original plans in 1987. She operated as a tourist boat out of Huis Ten Bosch, the Holland-themed amusement park near Sasebo, Nagasaki. Now she operates out of different ports around Japan. She has a displacement of 400 tons and is 66 meters in length. The original carried 6 cannons.

She was tied up in Nagasaki on the day I visited as part of my walk around Kyushu on the Kyushu Pilgrimage. The previous post was on the nearby  Dragon Promenade.

Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Yakatabune of the Mimuka River

Yakatabune, Mimuka River

Mimuka River.

The Mikuma River flows through Hita, in the mountains of Oita near the border with Fukuoka, and has been a transportation route since ancient times. It has also been a source of food, with eels and the ayu fish being popular still today.

In the summer months, It is the site for the traditional fishing method using trained cormorants to catch the fish, and visitors head out in pleasure boats to watch the scene.

The boats, called yakatabune, nowadays ply their trade most nights of the year as they have become one of the prime tourist attractions, especially for the many guests of the waterfront hot spring hotels..

Yakatabune have a long history, being used by the elite aristocrats of the Heian court to hold waterborne parties with plenty of sake drinking and poetry composition.

Yakatabune is often translated as "house boat", but in English, that implies people living onboard, whereas they are really like small Japanses restaurants, with tatami floors, low tables etc.

Around sunset each day the lanterns and electric lights on the yakatabune light up, and guests, usually wearing traditional outfits, arrive and are then taken out to the middle of the river for a few hours of fine wining and dining.

The boats are operated by half a dozen of the waterfront hot spring hotels, but I believe it may be possible to book seats without actually staying at the hotel, though I suspect the tickets are not cheap.

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Saturday, December 5, 2020

Down the Kumagawa River by Boat


The Kuma River, or as it is commonly referred to in English, the Kumagawa River, that runs through  Hitoyoshi is classed as one of the three fastest rivers in Japan. It was also the site of disastrous floods earlier this year.

Boat trips on the river are a major tourist attraction, with primarily two courses offered, the Seiryu course from Hitoyoshi down to Watari, and the Kyuryu course from Watari down to Kyusendo. The Kyuryu is the fastest section and involves a lot of whitewater.

I took the Seiryu which is gentler and is by far the most popular. Each traditional, wooden boat has two boatmen who in the slower sections help propel the boat, and in faster sections do more steering.

Though every boat carries a loudspeaker that is pumping out music and commentary it is nevertheless a very pleasant experience.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Tour Boats for Marine Alps

Tour boats in the harbor at Nagato on the north coast of Yamaguchi. The coastline of nearby Omi Island is full of cliffs, spires of rock, sea caves etc and is known as the Marine Alps. I first glimpsed the Marine Alps from a small yacht on a misty morning as we sailed by, but they re much more impressive close up. Wishing you all a great Solstice and holiday season and best wishes for the new year.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Tenryo Maru

The Tenryo Maru is one of the many tour boats that ply the canals of the Bikan historic district of Kurashiki in Okayama Prefecture.

Kurashiki is a fairly typical industrial city on the south coast, but the Bikan district is a little oasis of traditional streets and buildings that is a very popular tourist destination due in large part to the famous Ohara Museum of Art.

As with most of the major tourist destination in Japan I suggest exploring it very early in the morning. Japan doesnt use Daylight Savings Time in the summer so the days begin ridiculously early, but the tour buses and the hordes they bring don't usually arrive until 9

I found Kurashiki a little bit too touristy, a little bit too theme parkish. Most of the buildings are no longer in use except as tourist sites. Nearby Takahashi and Tomonoura I found to be more authentic.

Anyway, the combination of early morning light and still water makes for easy photography....

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Kaikyo Dramaship


The Kaikyo Dramaship (kaikyo means straits) is located in Mojiko on the Kyushu side of the narrow Kammon Straits that seperate Kyushu from Honshu.


It houses various displays concerning the history, culture, and nature of the straits.


It was opened in 2003 and the Environmental Design Institute and the Morikawa Design Corporation were among its group of designers.


It's right on the waterfront with excellent views across to Shimonoseki. Entrance is 500yen for adults and it's open from 9 to 5 daily.


Moored just in front was this strange looking tour boat named the Voyager.


It was built by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in 1993 and supposedly the design was inspired by Saturn. Unfortunately it was taken out of service last year as it was no longer financially viable.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Riverboats & Candy-colored bridge


A couple of traditional wooden riverboats tied up with our infamous blue, pink, and green bridge behind. I recently learned the significance of the colors of the bridge. The blue represents the sky, the pink represents cherry blossoms, and the green represents the mountains. Some more photos here.


The boats are made of Japanese Cedar, and the design has barely changed in over a thousand years. Locally they are called "Takatsubune", to distinguish them from "Kawabune" which are similar but narrower and not flat-bottomed.


There are lots of kawabune used on the river by fishermen, and fibreglass ones are becoming more common. These two Takatsubune are waiting to carry the local kami with attendant priests, musicians, amd villagers, upstream for the most important religious ceremony of the year, the Suijin Matsuri.