[Feature] Mogami Gorge Basho Line! Boat ride in winter
We went to Tozawa village to enjoy Yamagata’s popular activity, the Mogami Gorge Basho Line Boat Ride!
It was also selected as the top entry of the 2022 edition of Japan’s 30 Water Sightseeing Boats Selected by Professionals, and you can enjoy the grandeur of nature throughout the four seasons while listening to the boatman’s narration and boat songs.
1. Tozawa Village
Since ancient times, the Mogami river has been deeply involved in people’s lives in Yamagata, not only for its drinking water, but also in agriculture, fisheries, transportation routes, etc.
Starting from Mt. Nishi-Azuma in Yonezawa City in the southern part of the prefecture, the river goes through the Okitama region, Murayama region, Mogami region, and Shonai region to enrich the prefecture in a south-north and east-west directions.
It starts from Furukuchi Port and takes about an hour to Kusanagi Port.
2. Mogami Gorge Basho Line Boat
The Mogami Gorge Basho Line boat rafting is one of the largest boat rafting trips in Japan, starting from Furukuchi Port and ending at Kusanagi Port with a total length of 12 kilometers.
The relaxing journey down the Mogami Gorge while listening to the boatman’s song was selected as the number one of Japan’s 2022 Top 30 Water Sightseeing Boats Selected by Professionals.
You can enjoy boat descents all year round, but you can experience a kotatsu boat only in winter!
The kotatsu boat is a winter-only boat that operates from December 1st to March 31st.
① Furukuchi Port (starting point)
② Mogami Gorge Basho Line boat descent experience
③ Kusanagi Port (goal)
I will introduce it by dividing it into three points.
① Furuchi Port (starting point)
The boat ride starts from the reception at Furukuchi Port (Tozawa Domain Funabansho).
If you come by car, please park in the large parking lot there.
You can come back from Kusanagi Port, the goal of the boat descent, riding a loop bus, so please enjoy the boat descent without any worries (^-^)
Let’s go to the reception!
This magnificent gate welcomed us.
Just as the name Tozawa Domain Funabansho suggests, the appearance will make you feel like you’ve slipped back in time to the Edo period (≧-≦).
Not only is it the starting point for boat descents, but it also sells souvenirs and offers meals.
I arrived a little earlier than the boarding time, but when I was choosing souvenirs, it was time to leave in no time.
It is recommended that you come to the store with a little time to spare.
Here is the inside of the building.
The inside of the shop is as nice as the gate!
The ceiling was also vaulted, and the open space was spreading.
There are many Yamagata souvenirs in the souvenir shop!
For cherry sweets…
La France and melon sweets…
There were so many kinds of tea and soba noodles that I wanted to buy for myself even though they were souvenirs.
Don’t forget the liquor corner.
Furthermore, this is a boat trip! Umbrella hat called
You can also purchase dyed goods such as items dyed with the prefectural flower, the safflower.
The most crowded place in the store was the local confectionery manufacturer direct sale right after entering the souvenir shop (the photo was taken before the group arrived).
Here you can buy famous sweets that have been popular with the locals for a long time.
It is also possible to bring it on board to eat, so please check it out (^-^)
In addition, although reservations are required, it is said that they also sell lunchboxes on the boat that use local ingredients.
Unfortunately, the restaurant near the entrance was closed at the time of my visit.
It seems that you can receive the purchased products and relax here until boarding.
② Mogami Gorge Basho Line boat descent experience
Here is the regular route timetable.
* As of February 2022. Please check the official website for the latest information.
This time I boarded the ship departing at 12:50.
An announcement will be made before departure, and the boatman will pick you up at the souvenir shop.
Proceed with your heart full of anticipation, and go down the stairs to the boat dock!
The boat was waiting for us to guide us on our journey.
There is surprisingly depth when you go inside!
And there are large kotatsu (low wooden table covered with blankets) that you can’t see at home.
There are windows on all four sides, and you can enjoy the winter scenery of the Mogami River in a cozy atmosphere.
What a luxury!
It reminds me of the happy immoral feeling of eating ice cream under a kotatsu lol
However, the recommended point of this boat trip is not only the view from the boat!
One of the biggest attractions is the boatmen who are full of humor!
All of them are No. 1 boatmen who excel in various tricks such as “Healing No. 1”, “Dad jokes No. 1”, and “Imitation No. 1”.
Among them, the boatman who guided us this time is Mr. Akio Kishi of “Folk songs No. 1”.
As the name suggests, he is a talented person who has won many competitions, including the national folk song competition!
First of all, Mr. Kishi said, “Everyone was good!”.
In winter, there are many days with strong winds, and it is said that there are many days when the ship cannot be moved in the first place because the rudder cannot be turned.
It seems that the days of cancellation have continued for the past few days.
With Mr. Kishi’s talk, the ship departs calmly.
“There are various legends about this Mogami river,” says Mr. Kishi.
Matsuo Basho, who is famous for The Narrow Road to the Interior, Yoshitsune Minamoto and Benkei, and the TV drama Oshin, which became a national hit, continue to be talked about without getting tired (^-^)
And the unreal landscape that spreads with the narration.
The snow-covered mountains that flank the Mogami River looked like an ink painting!
By the way, the water depth at the point in this photo is 10 to 11 meters!
It is said to be about the same height as the 3rd or 4th floor of a building, making it the deepest point in the Mogami river.
The Mogami River is one of the three major mountain streams in Japan, but it feels like you are slowly flowing on a boat riding the current.
Looking at the scenery that changes with comfort, cherry trees here and there on the mountainside.
The cherry blossom season in spring is also beautiful.
Of course, the scenery that looks like an ink painting in winter is also wonderful, but you will want to enjoy the scenery in different seasons, such as spring when the mountain cherry blossoms shine against the fresh green, summer with thunderclouds, and autumn when the leaves are dyed red.
According to the boatman, there are the most visitors during the fall foliage season.
Also, if the timing is right, you can see wild boars and black bears from the boat.
Basically, the river flows calmly, but there were scenes where it shook a little at key points.
According to the boatman, there are “1st to 3rd attractions”.
The boat sways as the waves hit hard, giving you the feeling of a roller coaster ride.
Especially amazing is the third attraction here!
The speed of the waves and the swaying of the waves, which you can see in the photos, were loud and cheering even inside the boat (^-^)
(My heart is pounding too… lol)
This shrine on the right hand side is Sennin-do, which also appears in Matsuo Basho’s work.
It is known as the place where Hitachibo Kaison, who visited here together with Minamoto no Yoshitsune as one of his followers, healed his wounds over 830 years ago, and then founded the shrine.
Since he lived to be 90 years old, he was revered as the god of longevity.
Today, the shrine is famous for its benefits of marriage, fertility, safe childbirth, and longevity, but it can only be visited by boat.
Mr. Kishi’s skillful storytelling, strangely, created a sense of unity on board.
We all had a very warm time, laughing, singing, and looking at the scenery (^-^)
Mr. Kishi’s singing voice is very nice, especially his Mogami river boat song is a must-listen!
It is said to be one of the love songs of an old boatman who said, “While traveling to Sakata far away, stay healthy and don’t catch a cold until you come back.”
And the final main event!
Shiraito Falls, which was selected as one of the 100 best waterfalls in Japan, came into view.
The red torii gate at the foot of the mountain is a landmark.
With a height of 124 meters and a total length of 223 meters, the Shiraito Falls stands out from other waterfalls.
Because the waterfall water flows between the rocks, it seems that it has never dried up even though it has a history of hundreds of years.
It is said that it will be lit up in the summer, so I definitely want to see it at least once.
The big building here is Kusanagi Headworks.
It is an important facility that transports water from the Mogami River to the Shonai Plain.
It seems that you can see it when you draw water.
And to finish the voyage, Mr. Kishi’s sand the Hanagasa Ondo song!
We all sang and clapped our hands, and arrived at Kusanagi Port with the most excitement of the day.
A wonderful view with Mr. Kishi’s song as the background music, and snacks and meals served under a warm kotatsu.
It was an attraction that you can enjoy with all five senses (^-^)
It’s a recommended trip that makes you think “I want to ride again!” even before disembarking!
③ Kusanagi Port (Goal)
Kusanagi Port, the disembarkation point, is directly connected to “Kawa no Eki Mogami Gorge Kusanagi”.
Here is the inside of the building.
Just like the starting port of Furukuchi, sweets, traditional crafts, and sake unique to Yamagata are also available here.
Even if there is something that you forgot to buy earlier, you can rest assured that it will be available here (^-^)
There is a wide selection of products, from well-known sweets that have been popular for a long time to new products!
There was also a special sales floor for Shonai Sashiko, which is one of Japan’s three major sashiko (quilted clothes).
It features a fine and delicate design.
There are Ajisai Kiko sweets named after the city flower of Shinjo City, the hydrangea.
You can buy freshly baked ones here.
The shop’s recommendation is Akegarashi.
It is an additive-free natural food made by a long-established soy sauce brewery in Nagai City, with hemp seeds on mustard koji.
It’s a rare item that can’t be mass-produced, and it’s so popular that it’s been featured on TV many times (^-^)
Near the entrance, there is also a bus waiting to return to the starting point, the Furukuchi Port, so please be careful to get on the bus before the scheduled time for departure.
3. Basic information and reservations
・ Click here for basic information
・Click here for Activities
[Activity] Mogami Gorge Basho Line Sightseeing Boat Ride
Click here for Activities▼
Click here for the early summer boat trip and trip to Tozawa Village▼
[Features] If you want to enjoy fresh green, you can’t miss it! Mogami river boat ride and mystical Genso no Mori (Forest of Illusion)
Finally, Mr. Akio Kishi, the No. 1 folk song boatman, gave a message to the viewers of VISIT YAMAGATA.
“Please enjoy this Mogami river and this great outdoors!
We are doing our best every day so that the local songs will permeate everyone’s hearts.
[Features] If you want to enjoy fresh green, you can't miss it! Mogami river boat ride and mystical Genso no Mori (Forest of Illusion)
Writer Naomi Sato introduces the boat trip in the fresh green days and sightseeing spots in the surrounding area.