According to a document dated in 702, it is believed that the cormorant fishing around Kiso River region started about 1,300 years ago. Cormorant fishing in Inuyama started about 340 years ago, dating back to the time when Masachika Naruse was Lord of Inuyama Castle.Each UKAI boat has a pair of UKAI trainer and cormorants (a kind of sea bird called U in Japanese).
With the evening sky and the imposing sight of Inuyama Castle as a backdrop, four boats glide down the Kiso River, their fishing lanterns reflecting in the river’s dark surface. Each fisherman handles twelve cormorants, controlling them with strings. Dressed in a traditional straw raincoat, he conjures up an image from a classical Japanese picture scroll.
Since the temperature on the river is lower than on the river banks it can be very enjoyable and romantic to have lunch or dinner on the boat, looking at the beautiful landscape of the Kiso riverside and watching the traditionally garbed cormorant fishermen in their picturesque little boats, lit by “kakaribi” or “fishing fires.” By the way, Cormorant Fishing is traditionally held in the evening, but for those who want to study the cormorants work even closer in bright daylight, there is an option to watch it also at noon.
After the cormorants return, the trainer pulls the rope and makes them vomit the fish. You will be fascinated by the rhythmical and energetic calls of the trainers and the elegant moves of the cormorants diving in and out of the river. Since 2004, also offer daytime tours for tourists wanting to enjoy cormorant fishing more casually.
Inuyama Cormorant Fishing became known Kiso River Cormorant fishing after the cities of both Inuyama and Kakamigahara decided jointly to preserve the tradition in 2002. It attracts many spectators as a seasonal evenvt from early summer to fall.With the imposing sight of Inuyama Castle as abackdrop, spectators enjoy watching the fishing boats, lit up with torches, moving downstream while fishermen skillfully control the cormorants. Daytime exhibition of cormorant fishing are also held.
Also See: Rafting Nihon Rhine Rapids (Kiso/ Kiso-gawa River) from Ohta to Inuyama bridge
Fare and Hours:
Daytime tour with lunch box (No daytime tour without lunch box.): 11:30-13:45 Adult: Yen 3,800
Child: Yen 2,900
Nighttime tour with boxed meal: 18:00-20:15 (June-August), 17:30-19:45 (September-October) Adult: Yen 5,000
Child: Yen 2,750
Nighttime tour without boxed meal: 19:00-20:15 (June-August), 18:30-19:45 (September-October) Adult: Yen 2,200
Child: Yen 1,100
Note: The fishing might be cancelled depending on weather and river conditions.
Address and Contact:
Inuyama Cormorant Fishing and Boat Tours on KISO River
Kiso River Tourism Corporation (Kisogawa Kankou) Daimonsaki Inuyama (Kitahakusanbira 2), Inuyama-shi (Inuyama City), Aichi-ken (Aichi), Japan Getting There: 2 min walk from Inuyama Yuen (Meitetsu Inuyama line) Meitetsu Inuyama Yuen Station 3min. The office is close to the Inuyama Twin Bridge (close to Meitetsu Inuyama Yuen Station)at the river bank of the Kiso River TEL :0568-61-0057 FAX :0568-61-6126
Kiso Tourism Corporation Website: http://www.kisogawa-kankou.com/