Kuma River rafting returns to Hitoyoshi

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Tourists enjoy a boat ride on the Kuma River in Hitoyoshi, Kumamoto Prefecture, on Saturday, when rafting tours were restarted after a two-year hiatus.

HITOYOSHI, Kumamoto — Wooden boats filled with tourists returned o the Kuma River in Hitoyoshi, Kumamoto Prefecture, for the first time in about two years on Saturday.

Passengers enjoyed views of the Hitoyoshi Castle ruins and other sites in the city, which is famous for its raft rides.

After heavy rains devastated areas across Kyushu in July 2020, boating trips were suspended along the river, which runs through Kumamoto Prefecture.

The boathouse where the rafts set off from was swept away by a torrent of mud, and all 12 boats in the building were damaged, according to the rafting operator.

Persistent heavy rains also changed the shape of the river, so the company had to work out a new safe route before restarting operations.