Japan has a lot of canals that are being used for inland transportation and irrigation. There are two types of canals: one used for transportation or waterways, and the other for irrigation or water supply. They also attract many tourists. Here are 6 picturesque canals one should travel through in Japan.
Otaru canal is located in the Otaru city of Hokkaido. It is a fishing canal used by the herring industry and is one of the oldest and most beautiful canals in Japan. Otaru used to be a major port before Sapporo began to develop from the Showa period. During winter, this canal resembles a dream come true as there are gas lamps along the canal that romanticize the atmosphere by illuminating the water of the Otaru canal.
Teizan canal is the longest canal in Japan with a length of 46.6 kilometers built along the Sendai Bay. It connects the two mouths of the rivers namely Kitakami and Abukuma. It was first started in the late 16th century by a man named ‘Teizan’ a.k.a Masamune and it has been completed finally after the Meiji Restoration in the late 19th century. Although it was constructed as a transportation route, it is now being used as an agricultural waterway. It has beautiful parks and cycling tracks alongside it too.
Hachiman-bori is a 6-kilometer long transportation canal in the city of Omihachiman nearby Otsu. It was extensively used by wealthy Omi merchants during the Edo period. It was established when the Hachiman-jo castle was built, as part of urban planning. The canal sides are occupied by white stone walls and old houses which give a sense of wanting to row back in time, through the history of Japan.
Biwako-sosui a.k.a Lake Biwa Canal runs through Otsu city in Shiga prefecture. It is a famous cherry blossom viewing spot. The canal was built to connect Lake Biwa to Kyoto. The cherry trees will be in full bloom in April alongside the canal.
Yanagawa canal is a sightseeing spot in the Yanagawa city of Fukuoka prefecture located in Kyushu (southwesternmost island of Japan). Yanagawa is famous among Japanese tourists due to its 470 kilometers of wide canals. A video documentary was also created by Studio Ghibli about these canals and is widely available even in English. There are a lot of festivals too that happen in Yanagawa such as the Girls Festival or Hinamatsuri and others.
So, if you get a chance on your travels around Japan, explore a bit of nature and check out these 5 picturesque canals.