Ukai Comorant Fishing

Oita Ukai

200 years ago the then daikan, the shogun’s representative in Hita, brought the ancient art of ukai cormorant fishing to Kyushu from Edo, the old name for Tokyo. Since then, from May through October each year, Hita’s Mikuma River has been the scene of cormorants diving into its crystal clear waters, under the flickering light of burning braziers, to swallow whole ayu sweetfish. A delicious freshwater fish akin to trout, the Ukai fisherman makes sure the cormorants prize is relinquished for guests’ delectation.

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