Yakatabune

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Yakatabune near Odaiba.
Yakatabune near Odaiba.

Yakatabune 屋形船 (やかたぶね, Yakatabune) are a kind of privately owned Japanese boat. Private boats of the shōgun from the Heian through the Edo periods were very lavishly decorated. Yakatabune have tatami mats inside and Japanese low tables that resemble an upper class Japanese home, in fact it means Home-style Boat, and were basically for entertaining guests in the old days. Today they ply the waterways of the rivers and bays of Tokyo among the skyscrapers and temples for sightseeing and retain a traditional feel. They are often easily identifiable at night by their red lanterns hung along the outside of the cabin.

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