Building a Hozugawa Ayubune Model in 1/10 Scale

There are a lot of potential wasen subjects to model, but good plans are difficult to come by. Also, when decent drawings are found, it’s often difficult to find or to understand the details of the subject. I’ve been toying with a lot of different possible model building subjects, but would usually run into some issue that kept me from pursuing it further.

Recently, I sort of re-discovered a subject that I seem to have overlooked before. It is a boat that Douglas Brooks wrote about in past blogs from about 3 years ago, when he was building a boat in Kameoka, Japan, which is about 16 miles west of Kyoto. There, he built a Hozugawa Ayubune, a type of simple fishing boat that was used on the Hozu river.

15 shaku Ayubune built by Douglas Brooks in Kameoka, Japan, in 2014. Photo courtesy of Douglas Brooks.

The boat is a of a very simple design. It seems only slightly more complicated than the Gifu Tabune that I modeled in 1/20 scale, and should make a good follow-up to that model. Because I helped Douglas with something recently, though I don’t recall what it was now, he rewarded me when I asked him about this boat by sending me some drawings and measurements for 15, 18 and 24-shaku Ayubune. At the moment, I’m not at liberty to share any of these, but I’m going to work with him to see if there is a way to make some of this information useable for model building purposes.

I had to put the drawings into Adobe Illustrator so I could scale them properly. Unfortunately, I don’t have a printer large enough to print the drawings in their entirety, so I have to piece them together as needed.

After going back and forth on this a bit, I settled on the 15-shaku Ayubune. This results in a model about 1.5 feet, or about 18″ long. The smaller model also requires the least amount of material. For this model, I’m using sugi, or Japanese cedar, which I have in very limited supply.

Douglas Brooks’s has a couple blog sections on building the Ayubune. I think he’s built 3 of them: One in Japan, one that his students at Middlebury College built, and one recently for an American client. Here are links to his blog showing each of these boats:

In Japan:

At Middlebury College:

For a Private Client:

Ayubune are still used today, but most are fiberglass and used to take tourists on 2-hour excursions down the scenic Hozu river from Kameoka to Kyoto. The company that runs the tours is called Hozugawa-kudari and has a nice site that you can read in English (or Japanese).

The excursion looks like it would be a lot of fun. Here are a few photos from the Hozugawa-kudari website…

I also was intrigued by a Youtube video I found. I particularly liked the fact that it was a boatload of young women screaming at every bump on the river. I think the boatmen really enjoy showing off their prowess and the attention they must get.

I was initially interested in this boat simply because it’s a nice looking, simple design. I originally had no interest in the tourism aspect of it, but now that I’ve looked into it more, I’m more open to it. The tour boats are much larger, at 24-shaku. Now, of course, they’re all fiberglass, but prior to the 1960s, they were all traditionally wooden built boats. I was interested to find that sightseeing boat rides on the Hozu river date back to 1895.

I’m starting to think that the 24-shaku boat has some interesting background. Also, I really like the flow of the lines of the longer boat. But, that’s something to think about later. For now, I’m sticking with the 15-shaku boat.


1 thought on “Building a Hozugawa Ayubune Model in 1/10 Scale

  1. Pingback: October 2019 Wasen Mokei Update | Wasen Mokei 和船模型

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