Amsterdam in Japan: Yanagawa 「水郷の街・柳川」

Yanagawa, located in southern Fukuoka Prefecture, is known as a town on water. There are canals throughout the town and anywhere you take a stroll you are bound to come across them. In the Edo era, these canals were used to protect Yanagawa castle while at the same time acting as waterways and sources for town water.

Even now, the canals play a pivotal role, providing water for paddy farmers and firefighters. Part of Yanagawa’s main canal—its pride and glory—is used for boat tours. Four kilometers in length, it is lined with weeping willows (the “yana” in the town’s name), blooming irises and storehouses made with red brick or traditional Japanese white plaster in lattice design (namako-kabe). It is scenery with a poetic richness.

Photo ©Yanagawa City

The irises, which begin to bloom around May, are particularly attractive. Along the main canal route is an extensive garden with thousands and thousands of the lavish, multi-colored blooms for boat riders to enjoy.
Sightseers can take the Nishitetsu line from Tenjin station, which runs directly to Yanagawa. At Nishitetsu stations, you can buy special discount packets with tickets to Yanagawa station and coupons for boat rides and local cuisine.

Photo ©Yanagawa City

Photo ©Yanagawa City






Cultural Information Center


At the ACROS Fukuoka Building’s Cultural Information Center, there is a vast array of pamphlets and other literature on Fukuoka culture and site seeing. You can also make inquiries by phone (between 11am and 5pm, the Fukuoka SGG club, a group of volunteer interpreters, can take your calls in English).

ACROS Fukuoka Bldg 2F
1-1-1 Tenjin, Chuo-ku
10am to 6pm (closed 12/29-1/3)

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