Click to jump to the text.

Get Adobe Flash player

Get Adobe Flash player


Japan is situated in northeastern Asia between the North Pacific and the Sea of Japan. The area of Japan is 377,873 square kilometers, nearly equivalent to Germany and Switzerland combined or slightly smaller than California. Japan consists of four major islands, surrounded by more than 4,000 smaller islands.

日本語 English
繁體中文 簡体中文


Use the "JNTO TRAVEL PLANNER" for train and map information helpful in traveling around Japan.

  • By simply entering the departing and arrival station, get an overview of train transfer method, fares, and travel time.
  • By simply selecting the arrival airport and major train stations around Japan, find routes to stations nearest your destination.
  • Display a map of the arrival train station and areas surrounding sightseeing spots.

Read the "Usage Guide" and use this service for a safe and enjoyable trip in Japan.

Usage Guide


日本語 English 繁體中文 簡体中文 한국어

  1. Home
  2. Attractions
  3. Festivals & Events
  4. Traditional Annual Events

Text starts here.


Ukai(Cormorant Fishing)

Traditional fishing method manipulating seabirds, praised by Charlie Chaplin

Dates: May 11th - October 15th
Place: Nagaragawa River
City: Minato-machi, Gifu Prefecture

Ukai is a traditional method of catching small Japanese trout by manipulating seabirds called u (cormorants) in the Nagaragawa River, famous for its limpid stream, in Gifu Prefecture. Master trainers of cormorants dressed in ancient costume freely manipulate 10-12 wild sea cormorants to skillfully catch small trout. This fishing is performed every night between May 11th and October 15th except during a full moon or in heavy rain. You can watch the entire spectacle aboard a small wooden boat while dining and drinking sake. This 1300-year-old event is protected by the Japanese government.

Cormorant fishing starts at 7:30 in the evening. The only illuminations are the pine torches lit on the boats. Boats carrying the master trainers slowly sail out into the river, and when the cormorants swallow small trout all at once at the shouts of the master trainers, the spectators applaud and cheer. The evening closes with 6 boats sailing side by side to corner the small trout into the shallows, which is a quite fantastic view. It is said that Charlie Chaplin, who visited Nagaragawa River on two occasions to see this cormorant fishing, kept on exclaiming "Wonderful!" throughout the spectacle.

Master trainers of cormorants belong to a national agency (the Imperial Household Agency), and an important duty of theirs is to make offerings of small trout to the Emperor. It is prescribed that in each generation the eldest son succeeds his father, and these men live with cormorants in order to train them every day. At the Ukai-no-Sato home of cormorant fishing near the river, you can take a close look at the lifestyle of these cormorant fishermen. Feel free to speak to them and they will kindly reply to any questions you might have.


3 minutes'walk from Nagarabashi bus stop.Nagarabashi bus stop is about 15 minutes from JR Gifu Station on the Gifu Bus bound for Takotomi via the Nagarabashi route.JR Gifu Station is on the JR Tokaido Honsen Line (Rapid Service) from Nagoya Station.Nagoya Station is on the Tokaido Shinkansen Line from JR Tokyo Station.


Related Information


Regional Information


Festivals & Events

Traditional Annual Events

Traditional Annual Events