It happens with sightseeing in Sado – Though it takes 100 min by high-speed boat from Niigata to Sado, if you could row the Tarai Bune well, you would feel like going back on it –
Tarai Bune is the icon of Sado island in Niigata prefecture. It’s a famous round shape boat so popular that there are people who visit Sado from nationwide just to take Tarai Bune. In this page, I’ll explain about famous & popular Tarai Bune.
Tarai Bune was originally used to fish Turbo cornutus, abalone, octopus and seaweed only in Ogi beach of Sado and is still used for fishing. Ogi beach has complex reef making it difficult for a traditional fishing ship to enter. People used washing tub and improved it into “Tarai Bune” with shallow bottom that can turns easily.
You can ride on Tarai Bune at Ogi port and Yajima/Kyojima. Tarai Bune for tourist is made a little bigger compared to that of fishermen and 11 adults can ride. When the waterman rows, the Tarai Bune would advance easily but if you try, you will know that it requires technique and if you row just with power, the Tarai Bune would just go round and round without advancing. In order to advance the Tarai Bune, you have to row in the shape of number 8 and the shape of Kanji 8 when going backward.
In Sado, there exists a sad folk tale of Tarai Bune. Oben, a daughter of fisherman in Sado, fell in love with Tokichi, a boat carpenter. After Tokichi finished his job in Sado, Oben rowed Tarai Bune every night to see Tokichi in Kashiwazaki. Though Tokichi was happy at first, since he had wife and children, he started to feel annoyed after a while. He no longer wanted her to come so he put out the lighthouse. Without the light, Oben went lost in the ocean and never returned. Tokichi regretted deeply and said to have killed himself by jumping into the ocean. The Rokyoku “Sado Jyowa” sing about this tragedy.
In 2007, there was an event related to this “Sado Jyowa”. 3 young ladies of the island in their 20s crossed from Ogi port of Sado island to Kashiwazaki port for about 60km over 19 hours by rowing Tarai Bune and it gained attention.
In the bay of Ogi beach where you can ride Tarai Bune, there stand 2 islands called “Yajima/Kyojima”. According to “Heike Monogatari”, at the end of Heian period, there was a monster with black smoke and weird cry who come to Kyoto palace every night and the Emperor fainted with nightmare. Yorimasa Minamoto was ordered to get rid of this monster and he killed the monster with an arrow. This monster was called “Nue” with face of monkey, body of Japanese raccoon, limb of tiger and tail of snake. The arrow used to get the monster was made with bamboo of this island so the island started to be called “Yajima (arrow island)”.
“Kyojima” was the island where Nichiro, the Buddhist disciple holding release order of Nichiren Shonin who was banished to Sado island, drifted ashore after the storm and since he spent the night reading Kyo (Sutra), it’s now called “Kyojima (Sutra island)”. These 2 islands are connected with vivid red arched bridge so you can enjoy a beautiful scenery while riding on Tarai Bune.
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