Ukai Cormorant Fishing

Ukai Cormorant Fishing

Watching the fisher birds of Gifu at night by torchlight is a unique and fascinating experience that allows you to witness traditional fishing techniques in action. The Nagara River in Gifu City has been the stage for this centuries-old practice, where expert fishermen have utilized trained cormorants to catch fish for over 1,300 years.

The process involves using cormorants as fishing partners. The birds are equipped with a snare around their necks, which prevents them from swallowing the fish they catch. This allows the fishermen to retrieve the fish from the birds’ beaks and collect them in their boats. The fishing takes place at dusk, creating a mesmerizing sight as the boats drift along the river, each one illuminated by a fire hanging from the prow.

To witness this spectacle, you can join a covered boat that follows alongside the fishing boats. This vantage point provides a close-up view of the fishing process and allows you to appreciate the skill and coordination between the fishermen and their feathered partners. Alternatively, you can watch for free from the riverbanks, although being on the boat offers a more immersive and enjoyable experience.

If you opt for the boat experience, some boats even offer dinner for an additional fee. The fish served during the meal are caught directly from the river, ensuring their freshness and quality. This adds another layer of enjoyment to the evening, as you can savor delicious local cuisine while being surrounded by the tranquil beauty of the Nagara River.

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The fishing season runs from May to October, and sightseeing boats depart from the Nagara Bridge several times during the evening. The trip typically lasts a little over an hour, giving you ample time to witness the fishing process and appreciate the serene atmosphere of the river. It is advisable to make a reservation in advance, and dinner reservations can usually be arranged through your hotel.

The tradition of using cormorants for fishing has deep roots in Japanese culture and history. It is believed to have originated in China and was introduced to japan during the Nara period. Over time, it became an integral part of the local culture and has been passed down through generations of fishermen. Today, it serves as both a tourist attraction and a way to preserve and celebrate this ancient practice.

As you watch the fisher birds of Gifu at night by torchlight, you can’t help but marvel at the harmony between humans and nature. The fishermen have developed a profound understanding of the river and its ecosystem, allowing them to work in harmony with the environment. This sustainable approach to fishing ensures the preservation of the river’s biodiversity and supports the local ecosystem.

In recent years, the fishing industry has faced numerous challenges, including declining fish populations and environmental concerns. However, the fishermen of Gifu have continued to adapt and innovate, finding ways to maintain their traditions while also addressing these issues. They have implemented measures to protect the river’s ecosystem, such as limiting the number of fishing days to prevent overfishing and promoting sustainable fishing practices.

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The fisher birds of Gifu are not only a symbol of the region’s cultural heritage but also a testament to the resilience and adaptability of the local community. By watching their nighttime fishing demonstration, you become a part of this ongoing story and support the efforts to preserve this unique tradition for future generations.

In conclusion, watching the fisher birds of Gifu at night by torchlight offers a captivating glimpse into the ancient practice of using cormorants for fishing. It allows you to witness the skill and coordination between the fishermen and their feathered partners, as well as experience the tranquility of the Nagara River at dusk. Whether you choose to join a covered boat or watch from the riverbanks, this experience is sure to leave a lasting impression and deepen your appreciation for the beauty of nature and the rich cultural heritage of Gifu City.

Address And Maps Location:

1-2 Minato-machi, Gifu-shi, Gifu-ken

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