River Ferries: Bringing People Together *RERUN
Japan is a land covered with rugged mountains. For centuries, there were many places that could only be reached by river routes. Often, the other side of the river can be seen but cannot be crossed without a boat. These rivers may be everyday routes for commuting, or a pathway to deities for pilgrims. Eventually, bridges were built, and the ferries disappeared at many places. In this episode of Seasoning the Seasons, we travel Japan, a country of rivers, in search of ferry boats.

Ferrying Women: Obeni Ferry on Nagara River

Obeni Ferry on the Nagara River in Gifu Prefecture, with a history of 400 years, is operated by local authorities as part of a prefectural road. Today, there is no charge. The name of the ferry service is said to have come from a woman named Obeni who was a sendo, an operator of ferry boats. The Obeni Ferry has survived together with the country fair held across the river. It was and continues to be a route where women come and go.

The Ferry Excursion: "Yagiri-no-Watashi" on Edo River

There is a famous ferry in Japan, which became popular because of a hit song. It is the Yagiri-no-Watashi, or Yagiri Ferry. It crosses the Edo River which borders Tokyo and Chiba Prefecture. Local kindergartens today still take their children to the Edo River for their excursions.

Ferrying Daily Life: Tsurue Ferry in Hagi

Hagi in Yamaguchi Prefecture is a town built on a delta, surrounded by the sea to its north, and a river to its east and west. Remnants of the old castle town, which flourished during the age of the samurai, can still be found today. There is only one remaining ferry at the mouth of the river, which connects the castle town and Tsurue on the other side. The river is an everyday route for commuting, and the sendo's hut is a hangout for the local residents.