• Kiso River Ukai

Inuyama-City Kiso River Ukai

Date : 06/01/2017 - 10/15/2017

  • Kiso River Ukai
  • Kiso River Ukai
  • Kiso River Ukai
  • Kiso River Ukai
  • Kiso River Ukai

Ukai, Cormorant Fishing on The Kiso River

Ukai is a 1,300 year old traditional fishing technique using tethered cormorants to catch Ayu (sweet fish). A fire hanging from a steel basket at the front of the boat attracts the fish, which are scooped up by the diving birds. The Ushou, or cormorant handler, then pulls the cormorants in and the larger fish are disgorged from the birds’ beaks.

Kiso River Ukai

The art of Ukai has been practiced on the rivers of Japan for over 1,300 years, but can only be seen in 13 places across the nation, one of the more famous being on the Kiso River, just upstream from the National Treasure, Inuyama Castle in Aichi Prefecture. Watching Ukai was a popular pastime amongst feudal lords and the rich from the 8th to the 19th Centuries. The practice gained special support from the Emperor, and was patronized and protected by the great unifier Lord Oda Nobunaga and later, the Shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu. Besides Nobunaga and Ieyasu, the wandering poet Matsuo Basho, and even British comedian, film star Charlie Chaplin enjoyed watching Ukai fishing.

Fishing With The Birds

Kiso River Ukai

Ukai is usually performed at night from long flat bottomed wooden boats. Two men control the rudder, navigating the shallower waters and collecting the fish. The lead fisherman, or Usho, dressed in traditional garb, a water repelling straw skirt over a dark cotton kimono and pixie-like cloth cap, handles five to 12 cormorants tethered at the neck with straw ropes.

Kiso River Ukai

The Ukai fishing season operates during the warmer months from late May to mid October, except for nights of full moon and when the river rises above a certain level. Although usually performed at night, daytime exhibitions allow visitors a better view of the action.

Escape the heat of the Japanese summer and enjoy a night, or day on the river watching one of the oldest and most traditional of Japanese events, Ukai, cormorant fishing, the summer sport of the Lords of Japan.


  • Parking
  • Restaurant
Date : June 1 to October 15
Holding time : June 1 to October 15 every year
Location : 〒484-0081
2, Kitahakusanbira, Inuyama, Inuyama-City, Aichi
Fee : Varies by plan
Parking : About 20 parking spaces on the dry river bed under Inuyama Bridge Office, but large vehicles and buses cannot park there.
Phone number : 0568-61-2727
Holidays : Varies by plan

Note: This page may not be current due to update time differences between site databases.
Should accuracy be critical, please verify this information using a direct source, whenever possible.


  • Access by public transport
    Access by public transport
    From Nagoya Station to Inuyamayuen Station on the Meitetsu Inuyama Line.
    Alight at Inuyamayuen Station and 3 minutes walk.
  • Access by car
    Access by car
    25 minutes from Meishin Expressway Komaki I.C.

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