Yamaguchi: Blossom Viewing Boats Start Spring Cruises around Kintai Bridge

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A sightseeing boat pushes off from a riverbank where rapeseed flowers are in bloom, near Kintai Bridge on the Nishiki River in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, on March 18.

IWAKUNI, Yamaguchi —Sightseeing boats have started their seasonal runs on the Nishiki River in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture.

The boats, known as Sakura-bune, or cherry blossom boats, are known for punting every spring around the Kintai Bridge, which has been designated a national site of scenic beauty.

Visitors can enjoy splendid views of the bridge arches, which are belted on both sides of the river with rows of pink cherry blossoms in full bloom.

On March 18, the first day for boat rides, visitors boarded the craft despite cloudy and chilly weather. The landing was heavy with the scent of spring from blooming rapeseed flowers.

According to the municipal tourist association, the boat attracted some 10,400 tourists last year thanks to favorable weather. The association aims to exceed 10,000 tourists this year, too.

A 20-minute cruise costs ¥500 for junior high school students and older. Boats can also be chartered but must be reserved in advance. The cruises run through May 31, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays. But during cherry blossom season, they also run on weekdays and at night.