The City of Water – Yanagawa

Last Updated on 2021/11/11

The Recommended Route for Tourists!

Yanagawa, one of the most famous sightseeing spots in Fukuoka, is located in the south of the city of Fukuoka, prospered as a castle town.

Some must-do things are punting in a moat of the castle and sampling the local specialty ‘Steamed Roast Eel’! A peaceful and relaxing time on a punt boat will tempt you.

There are five companies operating punting boats with a myriad of routes. The most popular route is a one-way 60-minute ride from the punting point near Nishitetsu train station to the villa of the Tachibana clan called ‘Ohana’, a popular sightseeing spot.

We would like to recommend the ‘Nishietsu Tokumori Discount Ticket’, 5,260 yen per adult, which includes round-trip train fares, the 60-minute punting boat ride, and the eel dish for lunch. It takes 51 minutes from Tenjin station in Fukuoka to Yanagawa by a limited express train without transit. Here, we would like to introduce the recommended tour from Yanagawa station.

Punting boat

This is the station building of Nishitetsu Yanagawa Station. There is a rotary in front of the station.
Yanagawa punting boat. This is the Shogetsu embarkation point of a punting boat at the Taiko bridge in the Mihashira Shrine.

A staff member of the punting company, Yanagawa Kanko Kaihatsu will meet you on the first floor of Yanagawa train station to take you to the punting point located near Mihashira shrine.

Yanagawa river cruise. Donko boats carrying tourists are slowly making their way through the beautiful green trees of the Yanagawa moat.

The punting boat can accommodate about 20 people without an engine. The boatman pushes against the riverbed slowly by using a long bamboo stick.

Yanagawa means ‘willow river’ in Japanese. ‘Where is the Yanagawa river?’ tourists often ask a boatman, but it is the name of the actual area. It might be that this area was a habitat of willow from the old days.

This is the view from a punting boat in Yanagawa. The white walls of the buildings are called Namako-kabe (Namako walls). Willow trees are lined up along the moat.

The scenery of white plaster walls and seasonal flowers will give you calmness and relieve your stress on the boat. It is thrilling to pass the very narrow water gate!

On the way of the Yanagawa punting boat, you will pass under a bridge so low that you will have to lower your head.

You might be asked to duck your head down when passing under low bridges while listening to a boatman talking about history and songs.

The boat is equipped with a heater under the table and blankets called Kotatsu, which are a special feature in winter. The 60-min boat ride might be over in the blink of an eye! It terminates at Ohana.


This is a panoramic view of Yanagawa Ohana. The Japanese garden, Shotoen, spreads out in front of the large residence of the Tachibana family, lords of the Yanagawa domain. In the back, you can see the hotel.

Most people might not know what Ohana is. The area used to be called Ohana Batake. The fifth generation of the Tachibana clan constructed a villa, and local people came to call the villa ‘Ohana’ since then.

This is a large hall in the residence of the Tachibana family, lords of the Yanagawa domain.

The current Ohana consists of the villa, Shotoen garden, a western style building, a history museum, a gift shop, a restaurant and accommodation.

This is a western-style building located in Ohana, Yanagawa.
This is the interior of the Tachibana Family Archives in Yanagawa Ohana. Armor, helmets and others used in the Edo period are on display.

The eye-catching two-storied western building is a guest house constructed from 1909 to 10. The Shotoen is a Japanese garden with beautifully trimmed pine trees and a pond. The Tachibana family have been doing the hotel business since after WWII. The museum displays precious items of the clan.

Ohana: Entrance is 700 yen per adult and it is closed on Monday and Tuesday.

Yanagawa Hina Doll Festival

Yanagawa Hina Festival. A lot of hina dolls are displayed on the red hina-dan. Sagemon are hanging from the ceiling.

The most splendid time throughout the year in Yanagawa is the Hina Doll Festival which is from February 11 to the beginning of April to celebrate girl’s health and prosperity.

The tradition of the Hina Doll Festival has been passed on in many regions in Japan, but hanging dolls are also gorgeously decorated around the Hina doll in Yanagawa. Why don’t you visit Yanagawa during the festival?

An eel cuisine

This is a Yanagawa specialty and a popular Yanagawa gourmet dish, unagi no seiro-mushi. Eel and a thinly sliced yellow omelet are placed on top of the rice.

‘Unagi no Seiromushi’ is an eel cuisine, known as a local specialty in Yanagawa. If we tell someone ‘We went to Yanagawa,’ you will definitely be asked ‘Did you eat Unagi?’ The restaurant I recommend is Wakamatsuya, located at Okinohata area.

Unlike normal grilled eel dishes in Japan, you put the grilled eel on rice with teriyaki and steam them together. The rich taste of eel and teriyaki are taken in the rice, which makes them flavorful and tender. It stays warm enough until you finish eating. The ‘Nishietsu Tokumori Discount Ticket’ includes a meal coupon for lunch!

Okinohata Suitengu Shrine

Okihata is located in Yanagawa. The atmosphere is typical of Yanagawa, with boats passing through the moat and rows of willow trees along the moat.
Okinohata Suitengu Shrine is located in Yanagawa. The Okinohata Suitengu Festival is held every year from May 3rd to 5th.

A three-minute walk takes you to Okinohata from Ohana. The scenery of the punting boat in the moat and willow trees in Okinohata is a perfect Yanagawa-like view and is used for tourism advertisements as well. Okinohata Suitengu shrine is a small shrine located in Okinohata. A festival is held from May 3rd to 5th every year.

Well, here is the recommended route to enjoy a peaceful punting boat cruise, the eel cuisine, Ohana villa, and strolling round Okinohata. If you take the ‘Nishietsu Tokumori Discount Ticket’, a free shuttle bus departs from one of the eel restaurants ‘Rokkyu’. How about visiting the historical town of Yanagawa? You will have a wonderful day!


Kaori Ashida

Licensed National Guide, Certified General Travel Services Manager, 1st Grade Instructor of Inbound Tourism. 17 years of experience in the tourism industry, including working as a tour guide in Australia and Canada for Japanese tourists. I love traveling, eating, and taking beautiful pictures!
Are you a travel lover? Do you want to try a new experience? If yes, check out my articles for your traveling tips. Other than being a professional and friendly guide, I share travel information about Japan as a freelance writer.

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