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Hachiman-bori Canal 八幡堀

Hachiman-bori Canal Hachiman-bori Canal
Hachiman-bori Canal Hachiman-bori Canal

Cruise the scenic moats of Omihachiman and experience history

A Japanese boat cruise of Hachiman-bori with no rowing required. Just sit back, enjoy the dreamlike atmosphere, and enjoy the scenery and glimpses of Japanese history along the way.

Don't Miss

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

How to Get There

Omihachiman Station can be reached easily from Kyoto and Osaka via JR trains.

From Omihachiman Station, it's a 30-minute walk to the canal, or a 10-minute taxi or bus ride.

Quick Facts

The moat is approximately 5 km long

This historic moat fell into disrepair during the course of the modern era, but has been revived by local revitalisation efforts

The moat is a good place to see the cherry blossoms and autumn leaves

The castle town canals that became a source of Japanese business

Hachiman-Bori is a man-made canal that runs through the heart of Omihachiman City , and connects the town to Lake Biwa , Japan's largest lake.

In the late 16th Century, the Toyotomi family, leaders of the town, built a castle and moat, and develop the castle town at Mt. Hachiman. The moat protecting the castle later flourished a relay base for water transportation of goods to Osaka, Tokyo and other parts of the country via Lake Biwa, and the Omi merchants who were active in the Edo period travelled across the country from this Hachiman-bori. Successful merchants set up vast mansions, and some of these merchant houses still remain in the town.

A beautiful moat, revived in modern times

Over time, the moat fell into disuse as a transport hub, and from around the period of rapid economic growth in the 1950s, Hachiman-bori became overgrown and filled with mud. The local community worked to reclaim the moat, and as a result it has been restored to its former beauty. Efforts to clean up and preserve the beautiful moat are ongoing, and its atmosphere can be enjoyed on a Japanese boat cruise. Many of the white walls and storehouse residences along Hachimanb-ori have been preserved, along with townhouses and other buildings on nearby Shinmachi Dori. The area is lined with historic buildings and offers the atmosphere of an Edo period merchant district.

If you're into Japanese film, you may see some familiar sights along the moat. 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 the charms of Hachiman-bori is to take a cruise on a traditional boat. Several boat operators offer traditional Japanese boat cruises. The Tourist Information Centre at Omi Hachiman Station is the best place to get more information on cruises.

Learn more about the town at the Omihachiman City Museum. You can learn about the history of Omihachiman and the traditions that continue to the present day, and visit the attached History and Folklore Museum.

* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.

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