Yanagawa: the Venice of Kyushu 柳川
Hinamatsuri in Yanagawa
A festival honoring the poet Hakushu Kitahara
A Gondola Ride
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.
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.