Cormorant fishing (“Ukai”) is a traditional fishing method which began approximately 1,300 years ago. This is a typical summer featured event in Gifu City.
With Gifu Castle located on Mount Kinka, the Nagara River cormorant fishing is conducted in the clear Nagara River, which was selected as one of the best rivers in Japan.
There are established Imperial Household Agency fishing sites on the Nagara River, and the cormorant fishing conducted here is called “Goryo-Ukai.” The ayu fish (sweetfish) caught here are offered to the Imperial House as well as to the Meiji-jingu Shrine and the Ise-jingu Shrine.
The Nagara River Ukai is the only cormorant fishing conducted on the imperial property; therefore, the fishermen are government officials with the job title of “Cormorant Fisherman of the Board of Ceremonies of the Imperial Household Agency of Japan.” The 122 items used for cormorant fishing have been designated as important tangible folk-cultural assets of Japan. The Nagara River cormorant fishing has been designated an important intangible folk-cultural asset of Gifu Prefecture.
Cormorant fishing has always been considered a fishing method, but now it is also considered a valuable type of tourism which conveys the traditional fishing methods used up until modern times.
It is a very popular tourist attraction to enjoy the night views of Nagara River. In addition to the Japanese imperial family, many other famous people of both older times and modern day have visited Gifu Prefecture to see cormorant fishing. These include the famous American actor Charlie Chaplin and Prince Charles of Britain.
If you make reservations through our hotel, you can enjoy a meal and alcoholic beverages on the tourist boat while watching the cormorants catch ayu (sweetfish).
Of all the hotels along the Nagara River, we are the only hotel with an enclosed walkway leading directly to the wharf. You can embark on the tour boat from the walkway without needing to check in at the busy reception desk.