By Eriko Fukui
Escaping from the throngs of tourists in the bigger cities, Omihachiman is a picturesque lakeside town only known to the locals. The canal tours here give you the quiet peacefulness to contemplate, to feel, and to embrace the harmony with nature.
As we cruise along the canals that meander through Hachimanbori and Lake Sainoko, the lush green meadows and the undulating hills take away the stress of urban life. Chauffeured by a 60 years old punter, you can feel the strong sense of community and care for nature here at Omihachiman, as he explains the area while propelling the antique boat at the same time.
Just before the end of the 80 minutes cruise, he gives us the chance to hold the oars and row the punt and starts chanting some local folk songs. The summer heat is nothing in comparison to the old man’s hospitality. He is very welcoming and takes his time to explain his words, though my Japanese is very limited.
Unaware of what’s happening, our punter rips off one handful of leaves from the riverside. It turns out that he is trying to teach us how to fold a tiny boat with the leaf - a childhood toy of many who live in the countryside. You can tell from the photos that I have put my best effort despite my poor handcrafting skills. The human touch to this cruise tour makes it the one of its kind.
Ticketing and Tour
- Operates from 1st April to 30th November.
- Two tours per day, departing at 10:00 and 15:00.
Boat hire tour (Reservation required)
- Operates throughout the year
- Departs according to appointed time
60 minutes tour: ¥8,230 (boat for 6), ¥10,290 (boat for 8)
80 minutes tour: ¥8,930 (boat for 6), ¥11,580 (boat for 8)
120 minutes tour: ¥11,100 (boat for 6), ¥14,400 (boat for 8)
Take the 34 Chomeijicho(長命寺線) bus from JR Omi-hachiman station for a 10 minutes ride to Honenbashi-wasen-noribakuchi (豊年橋和船のりば口) stop.
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Like many others from Hong Kong, Japan feels like a second home to me. Having been to Japan for more than twenty times, it has never failed to surprise me with something new and exciting. As a Digital Media Arts student at the University of Surrey in the UK, I am keen on using media, particularly photography, to share both my observations and recommendations of the places I have visited around Japan. I hope my content will come in handy, especially when you are heading to the lesser known areas in Japan.