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Yanagawa-shi

at a glance

Comprised of Yanagawa-shi , Mitsuhashi-machi, and Yamato-machi, Yanagawa is affectionately called “The Venice of Japan.” Yanagawa’s canals were actually created as a drainage system to reclaim ancient swampland, but today are a major tourist attraction. Here you can stroll along one of Japan’s most beautiful roads, see renowned festivals, and taste the famous unagi meshi, rice layered with eel and egg.

festivals

Hinamatsuri – March 1st-April 3rd

Suitengu Shrine Matsuri – May 3rd-5th

Ushinohi – late July

Onigie Matsuri – October

Hakushusai – First Week of November

Getting There

By train…

– Take the Nishitetsu Tenjin-Omuta Line to Yanagawa Station By car: Use Routes 208 and 443

Points of Interest

Yanagawa Tourist Information Center is located on the right as you exit the ticket area at Nishitetsu Yanagawa station. While they speak some English, if you ask a difficult question they will fire up the web cam and speak to a live translator. This alone is worth the trip, but you can also get a discount ticket to Hakushu’s House. 35 Okinohata-machi. 9am-5pm • 0944-73-2145

Hakushu Kitahara’s House is the birthplace of local poet-hero Hakushu Kitahara, and is now a museum. Though Hakushu’s writings and drawings have few English translations, the beautiful old house deserves a look. Tickets are usually ¥400, but you can get in for ¥300 with a discount ticket from the Tourist Center. 55-1 Okinohata-machi. 9am-5pm. • 0944-72-6773

Kawa Kudari Enjoy the views from a Japanese gondola in tours that start near the Nishitetsu Yanagawa station and end at Ohana mansion.. The whole trip takes about 70 minutes and costs ¥1500 per person—if necessary, guides offer rides back to the starting point. In the winter, a blanket and kotatsu are provided. The guides are mainly friendly, old Japanese men who give running commentary on the sights and sounds, complete with old songs and folktales. Although English translations are not available, they will try their best to ensure that you understand the basics and have a good time. You can even try your hand at punting!

getting there…
From Nishitetsu Yanagawa station exit right and turn left on Rt. 443. It will be on your right. 1-6 Shimo-hyakumachi. Tours 11am-5pm • 0944-73-4343 • http://www.kawakudari.com

Ohana  is the historical château of the local daimyo, which houses a cultural museum and a Japanese garden. Admission is ¥700 for free access to the compound. In the summer, the grassy area turns into a beer garden!

getting there…
From Nishitetsu Yanagawa station take a bus bound for Honjo-machi  and get off at the Ohana-mae bus stop. 1 Shinhoka-machi. 9am-6pm • 0944-73-2189 • http://www.ohana.co.jp/e/index.html

eating and drinking

Restaurants and Cafes

Brown Sugar A trendy fusion restaurant, Brown Sugar would seem more at home in New York or London. The modern furniture lends an air of sophistication, and often there is a DJ to spin hip tracks while you wait for your tasty but meager portion. If you are looking to quickly fill up, look elsewhere.

getting there…
Take a right out of Nishitetsu Yanagawa station and make a left on to Route 443. It’s about a five-minute walk. 6-9 Shimo-hyaku-ch. 10:30am-12am, LO 11:30pm; closed Mon • 0944-75-6157 • ¥¥

Daigomi No visit to Yanagawa would be complete without a visit to the boisterous Mama-san showcasing the coldest draft in town. It’s one of the best yakitori shops around, but no, its name does not mean “big garbage.”

getting there…
From Nishitetsu Yanagawa take a left onto Route 443 and walk straight for twenty minutes. It will be on the left next to a Lawson. 86 Chikushi-machi. 5pm-2am • 0944-72-8089 • ¥¥

Fukusensou is the place to go for cheap washoku. Come here for the filling buffet lunch or for a late night meal! Their varying bento sets, some featuring the famous Yanagawa eel, never fail to amaze.

getting there…
Find it directly across from Nishitetsu Yanagawa station. 31-1 Shimo-hyakumachi. 11am-3am (buffet lunch til 2pm) • 0944-73-5760 • ¥¥

Happy-Wave plays great tunes, shows recent movies (in Japanese), and serves the most Westernized pizza available. Ask for Taku, who speaks excellent English.

getting there…
Head towards the river on Route 443 and turn left at the light just after Sunlive shopping center. It will be on your left. 3-3 Hon-machi. 11am-3am; closed Tue • 0944-72-8279 • ¥¥¥

Kawaichi Serving excellent and reasonably priced yakitori and izakaya food, Kawaichi is especially recommended for its large croquettes and onigiri.

getting there…
Take a right out of Nishitetsu Yanagawa Station and it’s a three-minute walk to the left on Route 443. 530 Fujiyoshi. 5pm-2am • 0944-74-2860 • ¥¥

Mancho  lies somewhere between an izakaya and a restaurant. Their hamburgers are popular and the drinks are cheap—try the shochu! They are often packed from about 8pm, so try and get there early to relax.

getting there…
Exit Nishitetsu Yanagawa station and turn left onto Route 208. Walk straight until you come to Joyful and then turn right at the light. Go straight and it will be on your right next to the Civic Center. 180-3 Imakoga. 5:30pm-4am • 0944-74-2125 • ¥¥

Pigalle is a charming little hole-in-the-wall specializing in delicious European-style food. It’s often booked or closed, so try and call ahead.

getting there…
Take a right from Nishitetsu Yanagawa station, turn left onto Route 443 and walk for five minutes. It’s next to the bridge leading to Mihashira shrine. 530-1 Fujiyoshi. 5pm-11pm • 0944-73-9477 • ¥¥

Unry Notable for its fugu (blowfish), a delicacy served from November to March, this restaurant serves amazing but somewhat expensive Japanese food.

getting there…
On Route 443, turn left at the Lawson at the Chikushi-machi intersection. 400-1 Chikushi-machi. 11:30am-2pm & 5pm-10pm • 0944-74-2466 • ¥¥¥

Yoshi Perfect for large groups, this pseudo-Chinese restaurant specializes in good, cheap food. You can’t beat ¥15 chicken wings!

getting there…
Continue on Route 443 from Kawaichi (see above) and cross the bridge. Turn right and you’ll see a large sign bearing. 72-30 Sumi-machi. 11am-2:30am • 0944-72-0402 • ¥¥

Yotahachi If you want a local place with lots of variety and a friendly atmosphere, Yotahachi is your best bet. Try the shumai (Chinese dumplings) and sashimi. The master’s wife also speaks excellent English.

getting there…
It’s near Yoshi—take Route 443, cross the bridge and you’ll see it on your right. 31 Asahi-machi. 5pm-12am; closed Sun • 0944-72-1164 • ¥¥

Living There

Directly across from Nishitetsu Yanagawa station is a supermarket, a shoe store, clothing stores, a drug store, and a place to rent DVDs and CDs.

Grocery Stores

Green Co-op sells organic goods and will deliver to nearby schools. Ask your teachers if they’re interested!

getting there…
Look for it right across from City Hall—check for the sign with the toothy yellow squirrel. 14-5 Hon-machi. 10am-7pm • 0944-72-1866

Shopping

Nishikaigan, or West Coast, is a huge warehouse store filled with second-hand clothes, bags, accessories, and the occasional feather boa or two. The prices are reasonable and the selection can’t be beat, especially for those that wear bigger sizes.

getting there…
It’s by Yanagawa High School—take the Ohana bound bus to the Ohana bus stop, backtrack to Honya-machi and take a left. It’s the big white building on your left. 11-2 Jogu-machi. 10am-7pm • 0944-73-1966

Ogawa is great for all your music supply needs, or just to browse their small CD collection. You can take lessons, though they are rather expensive and conducted in Japanese. Large soundproof playing rooms can also be rented for band practices or small concerts.

getting there…
Find it on Route 443 at the Kyo-machi bus stop. 58-9 Kyo-machi. 11am-8pm; closed Mon • 0944-74-0333

Leisure

Utamon looks like a cheap motel, but it’s actually a run-down karaoke joint: fun, but not classy. Go for the nomih?dai if you’re feeling bold, and be sure and try their snacks.

getting there…
To get there, head past Mancho and turn right when you see Best Denki on the left. It’s about a five minutes’ walk down the street on the right.

For more services, go to Omuta-shi or Kurume-shi.