Famed wooden yacht built for 1964 Olympics resumes

FUJISAWA, Kanagawa Prefecture–A wooden yacht built for service in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics has resumed demonstration rides for the first time in four years.

The Yamayuri, nicknamed “Shonan no Kifujin” (noble lady of Shonan), was built with cutting-edge technology at the time on a special order from the Kanagawa prefectural government in 1962.

The two-mast, 13.3-meter-long yacht, with a capacity of 25, was used as a patrol vessel and cruiser for guests when Enoshima, a small island here, served as a venue for yachting events at the 1964 Summer Games.

It was sold to a local yacht club in 1970.

However, the wooden Yamayuri was often at risk of being taken out of service because repairs each year cost several million yen (tens of thousands of dollars).

Yacht club members volunteered to preserve the historic vessel, which is also listed as a cultural legacy.

They founded nonprofit organization Hansen Yamayuri Hozon-kai to keep the yacht in working condition while offering sailing trips.

After Yamayuri operations were suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic, a full-scale season opened this year.

“We’d like as many people as possible to enjoy riding in the wooden vessel as it spreads its white sails and glides over the sea,” a representative said.

Sailing demonstrations are offered mainly on weekends between April and October.

Up to 20 participants at a time can enjoy a one-hour cruise from a yacht harbor at Enoshima.

Each ride costs 2,000 yen ($15) for adults, 500 yen for elementary school students and free for preschoolers.

The Yamayuri sets sail four times a day starting from 10 a.m.

For inquiries, visit the official website at (

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