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Building a Boat for Ritsurin Garden


If you visited Ritsurin Garden these past couple of years, you know that now there are a couple of boats on the south pond that allow you to discover the garden from a different perspective (full disclosure: I have yet to ride one of them).

Also, if you’re a long time reader or if you were in Takamatsu during the summer of 2013, during Bengal Island, you may have met/heard/seen Douglas Brooks, an American shipwright who has taken upon himself to learn how to build many traditional Japanese wooden boats, especially because the last shipwrights are all dying of old age, often bringing their techniques and invaluable knowledge to their tomb. His goal being to eventually open a boat building school to make sure the skills and knowledge survive and get passed along.

To refresh your memory, I’m inviting you to check out those posts where I talked about him and with him:


And if you can add one and one, you know where I’m heading here. Yes, Douglas is currently in Kagawa, as he was invited to build a third boat for Ritsurin Garden.

Now, it’s not exactly a traditional boat (small passenger boats for tourists visiting a park didn’t exist back in the days), but the building techniques that are being used are similar, and that’s why his expertise was needed.


Douglas Brooks
Douglas in Takamatsu returning from a small adventure I’ll soon tell you about.


Boat Blueprints
The boat’s blueprints in case you want to build a wooden boat for yourself.



Now, when I visited him in his workshop, he just had started, so I don’t have much to show you about the actual building of the boat itself. Also, as he’s located outside of Takamatsu, I’m afraid I won’t have the opportunity to go there again before the end. However, I’m not going to leave you hanging; the whole point of this post is to invite you to follow the building process on Douglas’s blog where he’s documenting it. (also, I’ll share his new posts on social media as they’re published)



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