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May 17, 2014 - Cormorant Fishing - Gifu City
Gifu City is one of the locations in Japan where you can view the 1300 year old tradition of Cormorant fishing. The fishing can be viewed between mid May to to October, apart from times of flooding and the harvest moon which occurs normally in September or October.
To watch the Cormorant fishing, you need to get to the Nagawa river which is a few kilometers from JR Gifu or Meitetsu station. Catching buses from Stop 12 or 13 should get you to Nagarabashi Minami bus stop which costs 210 Yen and takes around 15-20 minutes.
There are three different ticket types, depending on how long you want to be on the boat. The first is Type A, which includes a Bento Box and starts around 5:55 with an explanation of the Cormorant fishing. Type B leaves around 6:30-6:45 and you will be on the water as long as type A boats, but you need to bring your own food or drink. Type C is on the water for the shortest period of tie, but you watch the fishing for as long as all other groups. Type B tickets cost 3,400 Yen and I suggest you either pre-book or get a ticket earlier in the day if possible.
The fishing started around 7:40 as it needs to be fully dark. It continues for around 40 minutes and we got back to land a little after 8:30PM. Ifd expect that this time will be later in summer as the days are longer.
It should be noted that when you get to the location where you watch the fishing, there is normally a Japanese host which explains the history of the fishing on the Nagara river. On the day, she explained everything in Japanese and then explained to me in English which was much appreciated. This attraction is English friendly.
Overall, there were 4 or 5 Cormorant fishing boats which went up and down the river for around 45 minutes. There are a lot of tourist boats, but they make sure you get quite close on a number of occasions. My biggest suggestion is to sit as close to the side you got on the boat so you are closer to the Cormorant fishing itself. Itfs hard to explain, but I wish I knew this before I came.
Overall, the night was quite interesting and was surprisingly relaxing. Ifm not sure if it is worth coming to Gifu city just to watch the Cormorant fishing, but Ifd definitely come if you are here and have no problems with the ethical dilemmas of using birds to catch fish. As you can see from the last picture, the Sweet fish they catch can be quite large in size.