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River boating resumes in Saitama Pref. tourist spot after typhoon suspension

A Nagatoro Rhine Kudari boat departs from a boarding facility under Oyahana Bridge in the town of Minano, Saitama Prefecture, on Nov. 9, 2019. (Mainichi/Hikozo Matsuyama)

MINANO, Saitama -- Traditional white water boating down the Arakawa River in Saitama Prefecture north of Tokyo resumed operations on Nov. 8 after about a one-month suspension due to damage from devastating Typhoon Hagibis.

Guided by expert oarsmen, the wooden boats travel about 6 kilometers along the river from under Oyahana Bridge in the town of Minano to Takasago Bridge in the town of Nagatoro. The trips are a popular tourist attraction in the area.

According to the Nagatoro Rhine Kudari operating company, the boarding facility at Oyahana Bridge was swept away due to the swelling of the river caused by Typhoon Hagibis. The area where flat rocks lie in overlapping layers, the best scenic spot during the trip, was fully submerged and buried under dirt and driftwood, while a road to Takasago Bridge was cut off.

Moreover, heavy rains caused by Typhoon Bualoi in late October inflicted more damage on the facilities, forcing a further delay in the resumption of rafting.

Mitsunori Kurosawa, 55, a boat skipper, said, "I had never previously experienced such a swollen river like the one caused by Typhoon Hagibis. Big rocks were washed into the river and the stream changed. We lost the whole school excursion period. We want to make up for the losses during the autumn foliage season."

(Japanese original by Hikozo Matsuyama, Chichibu Local Bureau)

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