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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Sub-zero temperatures and the greatest of outdoor environments, complemented by sizzling soul food and warm-hearted welcomes. Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Sleek apple-red and electric-green shinkansen whisk you up to a haven of fresh powder snow, fresh fruit and fearsome folk legends Fearsome festivals, fresh powder and vast fruit orchards—the rugged northern territory of Tohoku offers a fresh perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
Mountains and sea meet in one of Japan's wildest regions, and the result is sheer beauty. Once largely inaccessible, Hokuriku is now reachable by shinkansen from Tokyo in a matter of hours An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Characterized by the constant buzz of the world's most populous metropolitan area, the Kanto region is surprisingly green with an array of escapes that include mountainous getaways and subtropical islands Experience diversity at its fullest, from the neon of Tokyo to the ski slopes of Gunma, exotic wildlife of the Ogasawara Islands and cultural heritage of Kamakura
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Served by the shinkansen line that connects Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the Tokai region provides plenty of interesting diversions and easy excursions Tokai means "eastern sea," and this region stretches east from Tokyo to Kyoto and includes blockbuster attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
From raucous nights out to outdoor thrills to peaceful reverie, trying to categorize the Kansai region is a futile task The Kansai region is one of extreme contrasts—the neon lights of Osaka and glittering Kobe nightscape, the peaceful realms of Shiga, Wakayama and Nara, and the cultured refinement of Kyoto
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Less-traveled and delightfully inaccessible at times, the Chugoku region is a reminder that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination Welcome to Japan's warm and friendly western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Providing the stage for literary classics, fevered dancing and natural wonders Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
Easily reached by land, sea and air, the dynamic Kyushu prefectures are bubbling with energy, culture and activity The southern island of Kyushu is home to volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky, succulent seafood, steaming hot springs and the country's hottest entrepreneurial town
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Ruins and recreated castles of the Ryukyu kings nestle amid magnificent beaches in Okinawa, a diver's paradise teeming with an amazing array of coral and undersea life Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

History

Hachiman-bori Canal 八幡堀

Cruise Omihachiman's scenic canal and experience its living history

The Hachiman-bori Canal offers relaxing cruises with no rowing required. Just sit back, enjoy the dreamlike atmosphere, and enjoy the scenery and glimpses of Japanese history along the way.

Tips

  • The stunning traditional Japanese architecture alongside the canal
  • Learn about the town's history and folklore at the Omihachiman City Museum

How to Get There

Omihachiman Station can be reached easily from Kyoto and Osaka via the JR Tokaido-Sanyo Line for Maibara.

From Tokyo, take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Maibara and change at Maibara to the JR Tokaido Main Line. Note it's generally faster to travel to Kyoto and then backtrack. In this area the JR Tokaido Main Line is also called the Biwako Line. From Omihachiman Station, it's a two-mile walk to the canal, or a 10-minute taxi or bus ride.

Quick Facts

The canal is nearly five kilometers long

It once divided the city by class and caste

The canal is an excellent spot for viewing cherry blossoms and autumn leaves

The main artery of Omihachiman City

The Hachiman-Bori Canal is a man-made channel that runs through the heart of Omihachiman City, connecting the town to Japan’s largest lake, Lake Biwa.

In the late 16th Century, the city’s leaders, the Toyotomi noble family, wanted to develop this castle town by connecting it to Lake Biwa. As a result, Omihachiman became a trading hub between Tokyo and Kyoto long before cars and the famous Japanese railway system was in place. At the time, the canal separated the regular citizens from the nobles.

The old city by the canal

Luckily, the city of Omihachiman preserved its canal even after cars and trains made it obsolete for shipping. Today, you can take boat cruises along the waters.

Many of the white kura storehouses and machiya townhouses along Hachiman-bori have survived intact, offering a taste of the merchant era. You can also get a closer look at these historic buildings along Shin-Machi Dori street.

If you're into Japanese film, you may see some familiar sights along the canal. Many areas along the water have been used as a backdrop for Japanese TV shows and movies over the years because of the historic atmosphere.

Take a cruise through the history of the city

One of the best ways to really immerse yourself in everything Hachiman-bori Canal has to offer is to take a cruise. Several tour operators offer cruises of varying length. The tourist information center at Omihachiman Station is the best place to get detailed information on the cruises available. It's also worthwhile asking the staff there to call ahead and book a spot for you.

If you’ve got a hankering for history, you can learn much more about the canal’s fascinating past and influence, as well as its role in developing the city, at the Omihachiman City Museum. You can also enjoy the History and Folklore Museum contained within.

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