A tarai-bune is a type of wooden oval boat used in the Ogi Coast area of Sado Island, located in Niigata Prefecture. The rocking motion of the boat makes for a gentle and easy ride, which has gotten the traditional watercraft acclaim as an engaging tourism experience that’s become representative of Sado Island. It might not look very seaworthy, but these little boats can carry upwards of 500 kg (about ½ ton) of weight even as sailing them is as simple as using a single paddle.
A little history: The rocky reefs off the coast of Ogi are windy and narrow. Navigating these waters for the harvest of seaweed, abalone, and horned turban was a challenge, so the tarai-bune was conceived in the early Meiji period. The boat was made through countless improvements and modifications to a washing tub, creating a vessel that was far more stable than most small boats. With excellent turning inside tight corners, the tarai-bune is used even now for fishing activities, employing a type of glass-bottomed box to look into the water’s depths.
Source: GoinJapanesque.com, JapanTravel.com
Photo Courtesy: Joyce Ogasawara
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