Before the Edo era
Boating in pond and river was got close to for a long time. Description that the Emperor Richu (child of the Emperor Nintoku) enjoyed feast with both attendant boats (two ways ships) for 402 years (Burial Mound age) remains in the Chronicles of Japan.
When it was the Heian era, boating matured among nobles, and the bow called "ship for the nobles" (ryutougekishu) enjoyed music carrying court musician in dragon and * (geki, imaginary chicken)-shaped ship, and "poetry" "ginei" "court dance and music was performed, too". This ship for the nobles seemed to be size that 10-20 people could get on to one. However, ship of this time has the same how to use as the present YAKATABUNE, but form is like different thing. After the Heian era, such an elegant boating was inherited among noble people.
On the other hand, there was always the word "YAKATABUNE" in the Edo era, but did not point to ship of boating. "Pleasure boat" is house which we attached to cow carriage and ship-shaped cover. In meaning called "ship with pleasure boat", there is considerably for a long time, It is drawn on earthenware vessel of Yayoi period and is left for song (winding 16.3888) of Manyoshu tanka collection.
By the way, then it will be when that we came to do "boating" in "YAKATABUNE". In fact, it is not sure. But there is such a story to hark back to it.
There was title called "title of daimyo" that only special daimyo was given in the Muromachi era. Daimyo with title of daimyo is called "stately mansion-like" (oyakatasama), When luxurious ship which Yakata boards was called "YAKATABUNE", we say. In addition, there is opinion called "YAKATABUNE" like residence (hall) where Yakata lives in because it is ship with luxurious hall (pleasure boat). It is thought about enough special daimyo having opened feast in YAKATABUNE.
Edo era ...
Only general and daimyo who owned pleasure boat (gozabune) were able to enjoy boating until the beginning in the Edo era. However, rich merchants came to enjoy boating when the world of Taihei spread out, and maintenance of river advanced. When it was summer in the Edo era, we enjoyed the cool air, and ships gathered in Okawa (the Sumida River) and did well very much. The word "YAKATABUNE" in the same meaning is settling generally now at this time.
Ship gradually grew big, too, and length seemed to match 26 ken (approximately 47m), YAKATABUNE of boatman 18 people-passenger at the mid-17th century. In addition, there was large YAKATABUNE of mountain mirage circle (eight ken of bullets) in bear Ichimaru (nine ken of bullets) and room eight rooms and kitchen as room had one kitchen in nine rooms. As well as size, is bright with lacquer; made painted in red, and touched metal fittings of gilt bronze, and decorated gorgeously, and seemed to compete in ze;zei. However, because the Shogunate gave the law of conservation of degrees after the late 17th century and touched limit to size and the number of the ships of YAKATABUNE, ship downsized and became simple.
When we cut off merchant, and pigeon said, we enjoyed boating in "roof ship" which boat rental house and restaurant owned (yanebune). Roof ship was called awning ship and, according to the name, attached only the four pillars of a sumo ring and roof to small ship. Because it was forbidden to put up shoji other than the samurai, on bamboo blind (bamboo blind) credit, one boatman seemed to row with oar not pole. It was simple and would be play that was elegant with the best that general public could enjoy. Roof ship which was 50-60 in the late 18th century seemed to become 500-600 in the early 19th century.
At the age of fireworks (current Sumida River fireworks display) performed by "river festival of the two countries", many ships gathered mainly on such roof ship. Because technique of fireworks progressed markedly in the Meiji era in particular, the number of sightseers increases, too,
There is record that surface of a river was buried under by ship more than 500.
From noble to general public, boating that wide people came to enjoy continues in this way until the early days of the Showa era. In the world such as ukiyoe print or rakugo, the state is still left.
The present age
It was YAKATABUNE got close to to many people, but declines at turning point in the Pacific War. Without room that enjoyed YAKATABUNE to people when we were under the wartime, the figure went out. Period of the high growth of economy (the from mid-1950s to 1973), Japan after the war accomplished rapid revival, but, on the other hand, waterside was not elegant by making water pollution, concrete building a breakwater, and YAKATABUNE might not bring back breath.
Then how would YAKATABUNE which disappeared of light revive?
We look back on it now from history of a certain boat rental house. At first all boat rental houses did not run YAKATABUNE business from the cause. Culture and fishery of seaweed, fishing boat business do most by opening. A lot of fish lived in Tokyo Bay of about 1950 and was full of customers that there were many fishing boats as catch was good. However, from indiscriminate hunting and water pollution of the period of the high growth of economy, various environmental changes including landfill construction, the number of fish gradually decreased.
In the late 1970s when change showed shadow, one well-established boat rental house brought back wooden YAKATABUNE. After several years, we began YAKATABUNE in form that some fishing accommodations redecorated fishing boat into. From place where fishing boat was made with FRP (reinforced plastic) before long, YAKATABUNE made of FRP came to be made. Fishing accommodation of various places throughout Tokyo came to run YAKATABUNE business simultaneously in this way at the mid-1980s.
We were combined with bubble period, and YAKATABUNE of luxurious, high-quality play became just like modern daimyo play popularity. Disneyland, Rainbow Bridge, new spot including Odaiba are born, and the highlight increases in tasteless Tokyo Bay at one time, Revival of YAKATABUNE became firm.
In current YAKATABUNE, facilities such as air-conditioner, karaoke, flush lavatory were prepared, and new standard style was established. And YAKATABUNE still continues further evolution by observation deck, kotatsu set in the floor-type seat, chair seat, big ship more than 100, smoking room, company effort of boat rental house including dishes except Japanese dishes.