Yanagawa is located in the Chikugo region in the southern part of Fukuoka Prefecture. It once flourished as a castle town of the Tachibana clan and is also the hometown of the poet Kitahara Hakushu (1885-1942). These days it is a city of water, with multiple canals running throughout the town, converted from what were once moats around the castle. It is wonderful to get on the Donko-bune boat and enjoy a slow trip through the canals all around the town ? you will feel the history of the canals and the beauty of the surrounding nature. Yanagawa and its canals look different in every season, and if you’re lucky you might find a bride on the Donko-bune boat! After the relaxing boat tour, you can then take a walk to see some of the main sightseeing spots.
“Ohana” was built in 1697 as a villa for the Tachibana family, the lord of Yanagawa Castle. It is now used as a history museum and also features a restaurant and inns. You will be impressed with the beautiful view of the Japanese-style “Shoto-en” garden that was inspired by the landscape of Matsushima in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture.
If you would like to experience something unique to Yanagawa, you can visit during the festival season of Yanagawa Hina-matsuri Sagemon Meguri (Yanagawa Doll’s Festival) between February 11th and April 3rd. During the festival season, you can find gorgeous Hina dolls and pretty decorations all around the town.
If you come to Yanagawa, you should not miss Yanagawa’s specialty: Unagi-no-seiromushi (steamed eel in a basket) is hot savory grilled eel on rice mixed with sauce, with shredded egg crepes scattered on top and steamed in a basket steamer. You will no doubt love the rich taste of eel with sauce that complements the white rice.