Experience Panama Canal Style Locks on a Sightseeing Boat: Fugan Suijo Line

Originally written for the Vol.5-No.2 edition (April 22, 2011) of the Toyama Hot News e-newsletter.

The Fugan Suijo Line has begun regular service for this year, and will continue through November. These sightseeing boats travel roughly 7 kilometers (4 1/4 mi.) from Fugan Canal Kansui Park to the bayside Iwase neighborhood, going through Nakajima Locks along the way. First opened in 2009, “Sora” is the first solar-powered passenger ship in Japan, and “Momiji” is also an environmentally-friendly electric boat. They carried 12,490 passengers total in 79 days of operation last year.

Nakajima Locks, about 20 minutes from Fugan Canal Park, uses the same system as that of the Panama Canal. It was built in 1934, and was designated an Important Cultural Property of Japan in 1998. Passengers have a 10-minute break at Nakajima Locks, where visitors are encouraged to explore the control room of this historical facility.

Back on the boat, passengers can have the unique experience of being in the locks, as the water is lowered in what might be called a “water elevator.” One of the routes continues to Iwase, though there is also the option of choosing the route that goes back up the “water elevator,” returning to Fugan Canal Park.

Generally only operating weekends and holidays, the Fugan Suijo Line is also available during the week for special events. It was a popular method of cherry blossom-viewing, and will also be open all week for the upcoming Golden Week.

Source (article and photo): Toyama Just Now