With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, now could be the perfect time to plan a memorable romantic boat trip that takes in some of the scenery the Kumamoto prefecture has to offer. You could book a relaxing cruise with a nice meal or even indulge in a water-based activity that’s a bit more fun and energetic. Here are a few options worth considering.
At 115 km in length and running into the Yatsushiro Sea, the Kuma River is the longest waterway in Kyushu. It’s also something of a thrill-seeker’s paradise, one of three rapid spots in the area offering white-knuckle rafting opportunities during the warmer months. However, you can also enjoy a gentler option that makes for the perfect Valentine’s treat for a couple looking for a boat trip. The clear stream course avoids the downhill sections, instead serving up a picturesque 90-minute boating journey starting off in Hitoyoshi, around 1.5 hours from Kumamoto City. This wooden boat trip with guide takes you past the Hitoyoshi Castle remains, mountain scenery, temples, shrines, and diverse marine life, eventually stopping around 8 kilometers down the line in Kuma Village. Hire prices are around 2,700 yen per person or you can rent a private boat for yourself for just over 32,000 yen.
If you fancy some sightseeing with a bit more protection from the elements, you can board a sightseeing liner and absorb some of the amazing views around the Amakusa Island area. Sights include the Amakusa Gokyo Bridge and the breathtaking Mt. Unzen Fugendake. There are a number of luxury cruise liners to choose from, all air-conditioned and seating up to 90 people. Ticket prices start at around 1,000 yen (or 500 yen for children). You will need to travel to the Matsushima port in Amakusa City and get a return journey to Misumi in Uki City. One way journey times are approximately 20 minutes. This gives you ample time to wander around the charming coastal city of Uki before heading back.
How does a sailing trip followed by a candle-lit seafood dinner sound as a way of spending Valentine’s? If you’d give this a thumbs up, head down to the Ashikita coastal town where you can board a sailing boat that not only takes in the local scenery but also doubles up as a fishing vessel. These boats use the Utase-net fishing technique, developed in the Edo period, where a net is lowered to the ocean floor and pulled along by the sailing boat. Common catches include prawns, crabs and clams that you can take home or even have prepared for you on board upon request.
Address: Ashikita Town Fisheries Cooperative Association, 2963-5 Keishi, Ashikita Ward, Ashikita Town, Kumamoto 869-5453