Yanagawa: the Venice of Kyushu   柳川

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Hinamatsuri in Yanagawa

A festival honoring the poet Hakushu Kitahara

A Gondola Ride

Located in the southwest of Fukuoka prefecture, the city of Yanagawa, surrounded by hundreds of canals navigable in gondolas, is known as the Venice of Kyushu.

A Little History

At the end of the sixteenth century, the town of Yanagawa developed around its castle - now in ruins. Its residents set up an ingenious system of pipes and a strategic defense system. In 1600, the warlord Moneshige Tachibana lost a bet against the future shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, during a siege of the castle. The castle was destroyed, but the city's canals remained and were used to develop local agriculture through a clever irrigation system. Years passed, and Yanagawa is now a small, peaceful town in the Japanese countryside.

Yanagawa Today

Today, Yanagawa is a leading tourist destination in Fukuoka Prefecture. Hundreds of thousands of travellers from around the world visit every year.

Its main asset: the gondola rides. One hour gondola tours of the town are offered complete with a private gondolier guide. They share stories and sing old local traditional songs, a cappella, as you glide down canals and pass under bridges.

Yanagawa is also known for its festivalsHina Matsuri (a festival dedicated to dolls) is a big event there, and there is one held in honor of Hakushu Kitahara, a poet from the city.

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