Friday, 23 December 2016

Yanagawa

I finally managed to go to Yanagawa (with my family)!! Unfortunately, it rained the whole time, so you can expect some rather dreary (but hopefully still pretty) pictures. For our trip, we decided to get the Nishitetsu tokumori ticket that includes the train tickets, the boat ticket, and a lunch set at one of the designated restaurants. It's a bit expensive, at 5000+ yen, so if you've got picky eaters or if you're bringing kids along, you may not want to get it. For us, we got my brother separate tickets, because he's a picky eater and there are no "child prices" for this set. Tickets can be bought at the counter outside the Nishitetsu station and advance bookings are not needed.


Yanagawa Boat Ride

Once we got off the train, we headed to the free shuttle bus to the boat ride! The lady who sold us the tickets was very nice and helped us calculate our route - that if we took X train we would arrive by Y and be able to board the shuttle bus at Z and such. It made travelling a lot easier.


I actually didn't think I took that many photos because it was raining, but it turns out that when you have a boat ride that goes on for over an hour, you will end up taking quite a few photos. Here's one of the few colourful ones:


And this was our guide! He basically pointed out interesting parts of the river and sang songs for us. Plus steer the boat and make sure it stayed balanced.



My biggest impression of him is that he doesn't believe in ghosts, since he mentioned that many, many times.

Oh, and the main problem with my photos was that I was seated in the middle, which means that I can't really get good shots without someone in the picture.


Going from the river to the canal! The guide was quite happily pointing out that Yanagawa is the Venice of Fukuoka, and that they are rather dependent on tourism. Sadly, Yanagawa has a shrinking population. But then again, the real Venice is also 'shrinking' because its residents are basically driven out by the tourism industry.

I was told that these staircases were built a really, really long time ago:



It really is very lovely, but Yanagawa isn't known for its autumn colours. The guide actually told "You came at the worst time".



Apparently, the building on the left is (was?) a brick factory.
Me - sees something not green or bare.

*immediately takes picture*



And those are the "floating" shops up ahead:


Our guide really didn't want to stop, though. He told us not to raise our hands because then he'd have to stop.



Apparently, this is a huge fishing net, but it's not being used now. The guide said that this is just for show.


We also saw one momiji tree, which made my mom and I really happy.



We ended at around 1:50, and since the place I wanted to go for lunch stops taking orders at 2:30, we hurried to the restaurant!

Lunch @ Tachibana Residence

This is the set lunch that we had. I chose this restaurant because it comes with a ticket to the rest of the place, while the other places didn't have such additional perks (there is one that allows you free access to the onsen, but it closes at 1:30 or something like that).



This is some kind of eel nabe. Before we ate, we added a raw egg and let it cook for a while.



And this was the steamed eel with rice! Of course, the eel was nice but the star is clearly the rice!! It's kinda like takikomigohan (hope I remember the name correctly) and so delicious! I would be happy just eating the rice haha.



Apart from this, we also had dessert (chocolate cake and two pieces of fruit) and a soup. So it was a rather filling lunch.

As for my brother, we ordered him this:


Most of the food is eel-based, which he doesn't eat. So we had to get him the kids bento (1080 yen, including tax), which was more rice + chicken, saussage and the like)


After we ate we went for a walk around the place. Actually, we were supposed to do this before eating (since the food takes some time to prepare), but we were so cold and hungry we decided to just sit and rest.


Sadly, the house is undergoing renovations so the picture isn't as pretty as advertised.

And we found this really awesome room! Apparently in Yanagawa, if you have a girl, you have to make for them one of these hanging things (this is like a bunch of the hanging things).


I seriously love the expressions on the dolls, which are insanely adorable.




And we found a really pretty spot on our way out!



This is the 出会い橋 (deai bridge), if I remember the name correctly.


It's supposed to be a very popular photo spot, especially if you're in the boat! But I wasn't able to get a good shot until after we got off.

We also saw a rainbow while hunting for an onsen that was open!




The first onsen we went to closed at 3pm (until the evening), but that turned out to be a good thing cause the onsen at the community centre had a family room!


It was really cosy! After we got out of the onsen, we managed to board a bus back to the station and back to Tenjin.

Yanagawa is really beautiful, but it's probably best enjoyed during the peak season of Spring and Summer, if I remember correctly. I did hear that there are a few winter events (something about illuminations), but they seem to be held during a very specific time period. So if you're planning to go in November or December, it might be a good idea to search for information about the various events online and then plan your trip accordingly.