Tokyo’s Shinagawa ward has launched a new programme to support local businesses struggling with the current lack of tourists. The Enjoy Shinagawa Yakatabune Campaign began at the start of November. Yakatabune are traditional long boats lit with lanterns, on which you enjoy a Japanese meal while cruising on Tokyo Bay. To boost rider numbers, the government is providing subsidies of up to 50 percent per ticket.
There are some conditions, of course: the maximum discount is ¥5,000 per ticket and the campaign ends on March 31 2021, or after a total of 10,000 people have made use of the deal. Luckily, it’s open to anyone who wants to ride – you don’t have to live in Shinagawa or even Tokyo to qualify.
Participating boat companies are listed on the official website (in Japanese only). To get the discount, you’ll have to make an advance reservation by phone and let the company know you’d like to make use of the campaign. Companies may apply the discount differently, so be sure to check when you book. For Ohyamamaru, for example, the discount of 50 percent will be subtracted from the standard price and you’ll have to pay in cash on the day of your reservation.
Note that 10 percent consumption tax is not covered by the campaign, meaning the discount is calculated based on the price before tax. So if the ticket price is ¥10,000, consumption tax of ¥1,000 will be added, making the full cost ¥11,000 per ticket. The 50 percent discount will be ¥5,000 and you’ll pay the remaining ¥6,000. Despite the tricky maths, it’s still a great deal.
You’ll need to know about the new safety measures aboard the yakatabune before making a reservation:
- Boarding capacity was reduced by 50 percent, and seats are not allowed to be shared among groups
- Partitions have been installed on the tables and the interior of the boat will be disinfected regularly
- During the ride, windows will stay open to circulate air, alongside the boat’s usual ventilation system
- Don’t share food and drinks; dishes will be served on individual plates
- Upon boarding, your temperature will be checked. Anyone with a fever of 37.5 degrees Celsius and cold-like symptoms will be refused entry. You’re also asked to disinfect your hands and provide organisers with your contact information, which will be used to track possible coronavirus infections
- Wear a mask at all times, except when eating
- Refrain from speaking loudly
Based on the original reporting by Ryuichiro Sato.
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