This time I’ll introduce a short trip for Dazaifu city and Yanagawa city. There is a discount train ticket for Nishitetsu train (西鉄電車) from Tenjin station(天神駅) or Yakuin station (薬院駅) to Dazaifu city and Yanagawa city with a return ticket. The ticket price is 2930 yen (about US$30) and it’s including Yanagawa river punting. (Dazaifu and Yanagawa ticket information)
The ticket can be used within two days from the starting date. If you are planning to visit Dazaifu and Yanagawa both, then I recommend this ticket. You can purchase it at Nishitetsu station or Yakuin station ask station staff “Dazaifu and Yanagawa ticket for sightseeing”. (Just in case, if they don’t understand English, try “Dazaifu and Yanagawa Kanko-kippu” 観光切符)
First, my friend and I visited Yanagawa city to join the river punting. We took a train from Tenjin station (天神駅) to Yanagawa station and it took about 40 minuets. We need to show the ticket (above photo) to station staff every time we pass through the ticket gate.
When we arrived at Yanagawa station, the staff from Yanagawa river punting waited customers in front of the gate.
The staff told us to wait at the place where everyone is waiting for the bus. The bus brought us to the boarding place of boats in 1 minute.
Here we arrived. Many customers waited for boarding.
Information for the return, you might catch a regular bus or a taxi, though there is free shuttle bus running every 20 to 30 minutes between Yanagawa station and the place where you get off the boat. However free shuttle bus runs from 14:10 to 16:40 only.
Customers sit on the both side of boat. The boatman has a bamboo stick to punt. He also entertains us during the cruise, tell us the history of Yanagawa river, or Kitahara Hakusyu famous poet and even singing himself.
70 minutes of the boat trip will show you amazing scenery and you can enjoy the historical objects and mood on the boat.
Because these canals were used as moats that around the castle, we sometimes have to pass through under the bridge. Those bridges were low enough to hit your head as you can see below photos.
The moats had been used for the life of people from old days. It’s easy to imagine how important this moat was for local people.
After 70 minutes of boat trip, we had reached to the place where customers get off this boat and catch the free shuttle bus to Yanagawa station. At this place, most of people have Eel rice for lunch which is famous along with river punt in Yanagawa.
We decided to have eel rice at this restaurant “Wakamatsuya (若松屋)” located just in front of the place we got off the boat. There are a few more restaurants for eel rice and they are not so far, so you might walk around in this town first. Although, I highly recommend you to make a reservation for the restaurant as soon as you find it otherwise you have to wait in a long line for a few hours.
“Unagi seiro-mushi” (steamed eel rice) is famous in Yanagawa and it is said its cooking method is a little different from other prefecture in Japan. First, the eel is broiled with sauce (sauce tastes similar to Teriyaki sauce), then it’s steamed with sauced rice in a bamboo steamer. The flavor of broiled eel and sauce soaked into rice and eel become much softer. The regular price for eel rice here is around 2000 yen to 4000 yen.
This is the end of Yanagawa part in one day trip and will continue the second part in Dazaifu on next article. Lastly, when we return to Yanagawa station, we missed the free shuttle bus and there wasn’t any public bus at the time, so we took a walk just beside of canals to the station. It was also amazing walking back to there seeing those beautiful scenery and people on the boat even though It took more than an hour.
This is a web site of Yanagawa city for tourists. ( Yanagawa city tourist association) There are list of restaurants, spots to visit, and some events information.
Yanagawa & Dazaifu Information
Ticket: Dazaifu & Yanagawa Kanko Kippu (Ticket for one day trip of Dazaifu & Yanagawa).
Link: Yanagawa Kanko Kaihatsu, Yanagawa city tourist association