[ Aug.2014 ] Every time we go back to Japan, our family and friends wait for us planning some events.
This time the first event was to go on “the Panama canal cruise at the old downtown Tokyo”.
It was a boat trip started from the foot of Tokyo Sky Tree and went through three rivers.
This exaggerated naming came from the fact that the highlight of the cruise was going through the Lock which connected Tokyo Bay and the river.
The system was the same as the one in Panama canal.
By changing the water level within the chamber which is called caisson, the boats can move to the place of the different water level.
We often see this system in the UK, too, so I was not surprised, but it was the first time for me to see the water gate going up and down (usually in the UK the gate opens horizontally).
When the gate went up, it took a lot of water from the river with it and we had to open the provided umbrellas when we went through.
As it happened to be the high tide, the water level in the chamber changed as much as 2 metres and 30 cm.
It was interesting that the water level changed very quickly.
The three rivers were man-made during the Edo era.
One of our friends’ father used to swim around here.
The boatman was saying that we were lucky to see many birds like herons on the day.
The boat was called Galleon.
I asked the meaning and he said they took this name from the large sailing ship used in Europe in the 15th century, though in fact ours was small boat with capacity of 12 people.