Taking 15minutes from baison by car, you can reach Nagara River. In the Nagara River, where is in the area of Oze, Seki City, Gifu prefecture, the cormorant fishers are engaged in fishery from May 11 to October 15. Ukai is a traditional way of fishing with roughly 1000 years of history. The season for the Ukai is limited so why don’t you feel the Ukai world?
In a remote area surrounded by mountains and river in nature, the cormorant fishing masters of Oze practice their craft in the dark of night. You can only hear the sound of flowing water, rowing boats, fishermen’s voice and cormorants chirping. I introduce the world of Ukai to you in this blog.
How to get to the boat boarding point:
(We can pick you up and drop you off to that point for guests staying at baison. Reservation is required. Please feel free to contact us.)
The boat boarding point is near “Sekiyusen” (Address: 76-3, Oze, Seki City Gihu prefecture).
Take National Routes 156 and go toward Nagara River at ”Oze 6bancho” intersection,
Go straight and turn right at “Oze Kita” intersection.
Go straight until you see ”Seki Oze Post Office ” on your right side and turn left there.
Keep going, and you’ll find the building of “Seki City Water-supply Control Center ” then turn right.
Go straight to the end of the road and turn right.
Finally, you arrive at the parking.
It’s relatively easy to get there with some guide signboards on the roads.
After parking, let’s go to the reception and finish paying. (Credit card is available as of July in 2018.)
The reception is on the second floor.
The boarding time depends on timing. I was instructed to reach the boarding point around 18:40 when I rode on a boat.
I had some time until boarding so I walked around. It was a lovely day and the view was magnificent. That was really beautiful scenery.
“Ayunose Bridge” is behind in the picture and a Japanese TV drama was filmed there. That’s the boarding point for Oze Ukai.
I visited “Adachi the house of cormorant” and looked around the place where cormorants were raised carefully.
Cormorants were already waiting on the cage and stayed hungry.
It’s time to get aboard! There were 5 people on “Katura Maru” boat on that day. We had enough space and felt it’s like a large boat and luxury.
We moved to a little upper stream of Nagara River. I was so excited to hear the sound of the rowing boat. The echoing sound was like “Gi-ko, Gi-ko”.
Thanks to the coldness of the river, I could forget the hotness though it had been extremely hot recently.
It was amazing for me. The river seemed beautiful, but even so, it was said that the water has got muddy because of the heavy rain.
We waited on the bank of Nagara River until it gets dark. For a while, we enjoyed talking with a boater. He answered various questions kindly and tried to entertain us. The T-shirts looked good on him! Cool!
As he said, the flow of the Nagara River has been changed because of the impact of the heavy rain in this July. A route for touring had to be changed due to the fast stream of water. I felt the power of nature.
Finally, a cormorant fisher appeared after it gets dark. The fisher we met was Mr. Iwasa wearing traditional clothes. The atmosphere changed soon.
He explained the history of Ukai and how to fish in detail.
Then it’s time for the beginning of Ukai.
From upstream toward downstream, the boat for Ukai went down with the light of fire and voice sounded “Hou Hou”.
We were in the quiet and dark without modern lights. There was the only brightness of fire. It made me feel like I was traveling into the ancient times.
There was one boat for Ukai and two boats for touring moving on in parallel at this time.
In the meantime, our boat got close to the Ukai boat so we could feel the heat of the fire and look at cormorant closely.
At last, we saw that the tie of cormorant was released and we could touch cormorants at the boarding point. That was a valuable experience.
It was my first time to see Ukai and it was more fantastic than I imagined. The nostalgic view was like a scene in a dram and movie.
It’s precious to have the moment to feel the continuous tradition with 1000 years of history. I would like many people to enjoy experiencing that and I think it’s one of Japanese tradition that we need to keep.
Machiya hotel baison
1949-1 nagasigecho, Mino City, Gifu pref, Japan
Udatsu-lined Old Streets in Mino city.
(An Area Preserving Traditional Architecture)
Seki city, gifu pref.
Oze Ukai ( cormorant fishing )