Yamaguchi: Cormorant Fishing Kicks Off by Scenic Bridge

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Cormorant fishing masters skillfully maneuver cormorants with ropes.

IWAKUNI, Yamaguchi — The summer tradition of cormorant fishing on the Nishiki River in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture, has begun for the year.

The river, which flows through the city, is famous for the Kintaikyo Bridge, a designated place of scenic beauty. The practice of fishing for ayu sweetfish using Japanese cormorants has been employed on this river for about 400 years.

On June 1, the first day of the sweetfish season, cormorant fishing masters, dressed in traditional black caps and straw skirts, embarked on three boats illuminated by torches. They skillfully managed 17 cormorants using ropes tied around the birds’ necks to catch sweetfish.

There were about 60 onlookers watching from pleasure boats who cheered the team efforts of the cormorants and fishing masters.

Tours will run until Sept. 10. Reservations are required and the boat fare is ¥3,000 for adults and ¥1,500 for children aged 12 and under.