Fishing in Japan: The Top Angling Adventures

Studying Time: 17 minutes

Need to hear our favourite outdated fisherman’s saying? “Wherever there’s water, you’re certain to search out somebody with a rod and reel who’s able to fish it.” That is very true relating to fishing in Japan!

It’s not simply surrounded by the plentiful waters of the Pacific Ocean. This archipelago of islands can also be residence to numerous freshwater mountain streams, lakes, and rivers. 

By no means actually thought-about heading to the “Land of the Rising Solar” for a fishing journey? We perceive. It’s extra well-known for its futuristic expertise, must-see vacationer spots (Disneyland, anybody?), and the buzzing metropolis of Tokyo.

In case you dig somewhat deeper, nonetheless, you’ll quickly uncover that Japan and fishing have a robust historical past. In actual fact, we wish to assume that they’re one thing of an influence couple!

This duo rivals a few of the world’s most well-known combos. We’re speaking about peanut butter and jelly, fish and chips, Tom and Jerry. 

Japan’s industrial fishing trade has existed for hundreds of years and remains to be booming, due to the nation’s fondness for seafood. There’s a cause why sushi has stood the check of time because the nation’s favourite dish! 

And leisure anglers, worry not. Fishing is seen each as a critical sport and leisurely pastime right here. That is undoubtedly mirrored within the nation’s extremely numerous fisheries.

Neglect about selecting simply between freshwater and saltwater fishing. Why not forged off underneath the shadow of Mount Fuji, within the very middle of Tokyo, or from the middle of a frozen lake?

With such a mammoth number of fishing areas to be found, deciding on your excellent angling journey in Japan has the potential to ship your head spinning. 

Fortunately, we’ve outlined essentially the most thrilling and distinctive alternatives under. There are alternatives suited to everybody, from model new fishermen to essentially the most hardened of anglers. You’re certain to search out one thing that may “moist” your urge for food, in addition to your line!

City Angling, Positive Eating

Credit score: Thierry Draus, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

As one of many world’s prime shoppers of fish, it doesn’t appear truthful that the inhabitants of Japan’s largest metropolis ought to should miss out on the enjoyable of hooking their very own desk fare.

Nevertheless, the hustle and bustle of city life typically leaves city-dwellers feeling like they don’t have the time to forged off. Tips on how to remedy this dilemma?

Effectively, Tokyo’s inhabitants and lots of vacationers are in luck, as Japan’s love for fishing has unfold to town. It’s created a complete new kind of angling that’s being referred to as “city fishing.” There’s an rising variety of man-made lakes and fish-filled ponds cropping up within the middle of Tokyo. 

An instance of city fishing in Tokyo! Credit score: Tomohisa Suna, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

Nevertheless, there’s one place particularly that we really feel deserves a particular point out. It actually takes issues to the subsequent stage! Need to discover Tokyo’s metropolis and slot in some fishing on the similar time? A go to to Zauo restaurant must be on the prime of your record.

Fish for Your Sushi Supper at Zauo!

With 13 areas unfold all through the Tokyo space, Zauo presents one thing that you simply’ll be hard-pressed to search out elsewhere. You’ll hook some prized fish, which is able to then be expertly cooked and served up for you in a comfy restaurant setting. 

You may select what you wish to goal, and the species on supply are critically delectable. Crimson Seabream (typically referred to as Crimson Snapper), Flounder, and native Ayu (Smelt) can all be hooked! You may also catch Shellfish, relying on while you go to. 

Visiting one in all Zauo’s eating places will little doubt supply up a brand new expertise for even essentially the most hardened of anglers. It’s particularly appropriate when you’re touring with little ones or newbies. With ponds and tanks which might be simply swimming with fish, it’s fairly not possible to not catch one thing. 

Credit score: Thierry Draus, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

The true pleasure right here isn’t essentially the angling motion itself, however the response from the workers and patrons while you hook your fish. You’ll be met with loads of applause! 

Seeing your catch being cooked up in your most popular type (fried, grilled, boiled, sashimi, or sushi) is fairly particular, too. On prime of this, what makes Zauo so irresistible for city-dwellers is its simplicity. 

Take a break from city life, whether or not you’re a vacationer or a nine-to-fiver drained after a protracted day within the metropolis. Bask in a spot of escapism at Zauo by making a reservation, displaying up, and grabbing a fishing pole!

Saltwater Stars Towards the Tokyo Skyline

Credit score: Joi Ito, Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

As Zauo has proved, fishing in Japan isn’t simply restricted to the greener components of this archipelago. That is very true when you’re pleased to spend your time fishing man-made waters. Nevertheless, this does have its limits, notably relating to the species on supply.

What about some hardcore saltwater fishing motion? There’s no means you may presumably battle massive recreation species a stone’s throw from Tokyo, proper? 

Not so. It may be simple to let the futuristic shiny lights and towering skyscrapers of Tokyo idiot you into considering that nothing pure exists right here. Nevertheless, head simply southeast of town, and also you’ll come throughout the gateway to the mighty Pacific Ocean. Yep, we’re speaking about Tokyo Bay!

Sportfishing for the City Angler

A view of Tokyo from the bay

There are many methods to entry Japan’s saltwater fishing grounds – it’s an island, in spite of everything! However an angling journey in Tokyo Bay presents up a very completely different expertise.

One of the simplest ways to discover these waters is alongside a neighborhood captain. The areas of Kanto and Edgowa are particularly standard departure factors for constitution boats. 

You’ll make your solution to the bay by touring alongside winding slim waterways, as industrial skyscrapers and residential condominium complexes crowd the skies above you.

There’s no indication that you simply’re simply minutes away from the open ocean till – bam! – you’re all of a sudden out on the water, with town skyline behind you.

Fishing Tokyo Bay isn’t simply particular due to the surroundings, both. The species you’ll discover on supply listed here are fairly unbelievable. The bay is a various fishery, with man-made constructions, grassy flats, shell beds, docks, and deep offshore waters ready to be explored. So what does this imply? 

Effectively, whether or not you wish to battle massive recreation, hook tasty desk fare, or forged off for hard-fighters from the shore, you’ll have a lot to select from.

Bass Fishing within the Bay

The preferred fish to catch right here is the Japanese Sea Bass, often known as suzuki or sea perch. It’s extra than simply your bog-standard Bass, too. In actual fact, it’s typically described because the Japanese equal of the Snook, due to the battle it places up! 

Why not check your abilities towards the feisty Japanese Sea Bass?

Tokyo Bay is acknowledged as a world-class fishery for this species, with many trophy sizes being caught right here. You’ll have the ability to hook suzuki year-round on the fly or utilizing standard spinning deal with. Fall is the best time to go to, although. That is when these fish head to topwaters to gorge themselves on bait.

Tokyo Bay can also be residence to some world-famous massive recreation fish. In case you’re in search of some critical bragging rights, you’ll be able to undoubtedly discover them right here!

The preferred offshore catch within the bay needs to be Tuna, and it’s not laborious to see why. Yellowfin and Skipjack species could be caught right here throughout the fall. 

One among Tokyo Bay’s many fishing ports exhibits off their Tuna catch.

Mahi Mahi, Yellowtail, Amberjack, and Big Trevally are different hard-fighters that might seem on the finish of your line, too. 

The icing on the cake? After a day of saltwater fishing motion, you gained’t should journey far to succeed in the bustling middle of Tokyo – and your mattress, for some well-deserved relaxation!

Saltwater Zen in Hachijō-jima

Hachijō-jima at nightfall. How’s that for a slice of escapism?!

We’ve coated Tokyo’s city fishing alternatives, however how about these of you who crave a aspect of escapism along with your angling motion?

For a lot of anglers, the peace and quiet that comes with a day on the water is simply as welcomed as hooking an enormous catch. So the place can you discover this much-desired tranquility in Japan? 

In case you’re seeking to get again to nature in your fishing journey, then nothing fairly beats Hachijō-jima. This volcanic island, situated within the Philippine Sea, is a part of the archipelago of Izu and belongs to the ward of Tokyo. 

There’s loads of beautiful surroundings on-land, too.

One factor’s for certain, although – you undoubtedly gained’t really feel as if you’re wherever close to an enormous metropolis right here! Hachijō-jima is lower than an hour’s flight from Tokyo and simply accessible, but it surely’s just about the definition of the phrase “distant.” There’s loads of lush, pure surroundings to absorb.

So sure, it greater than matches the invoice relating to escapism, however what’s the fishing like? 

Deep Sea Motion in a Tranquil Paradise

Effectively, if experiencing Japan’s deep sea angling motion is a “should” for you, a go to to Hachijō-jima gained’t disappoint. This japanese aspect of the island is residence to a barrier often called a “breakwater.” This was naturally shaped from the coral reefs right here, and protects the coast from the ocean’s present. 

An enormous number of fish swarm the reefs round Hachijō-jima, which type a singular “breakwater.”

Even higher? Massive recreation species collect within the deep drop close to the reefs, and could be caught a mere casting distance from the shore. Deep sea fishing that requires no journey time? We’re in!

The species on supply listed here are spectacular, too. You may hook big Tuna varieties, together with Bluefin, Bigeye, and Yellowfin, and Amberjack (each better and Yellowtail) species. 

In case you’d moderately battle these beasts alongside an skilled captain, you’ll discover loads of charters on supply. It is a tourist-friendly island, in spite of everything! You’ll even discover quite a lot of lodges and Japanese-style B&Bs (often called ryokan) on supply.

One of the best place to start out your fishing journey is from Hachijō-jima Fishing Membership. Positioned on the japanese aspect of the island, it caters for constitution fishing and shoreline fishing

This membership will arrange charters for you and hire gear to you. They’ll even present solutions for eating places on the island that may prepare dinner your catch. You should purchase outdated and used fishing rods for a low price, or hire brand-new gear. There’s an acceptable value level for each visitor.

So how do you get to Hachijō-jima? If the journey is the vacation spot for you, then you’ll be able to take the ferry from Tokyo’s Takeshiba Sanbashi Bay. The experience lasts for roughly 10 hours, stops at different islands within the space, and is ideal for guests who actually wish to take issues slowly and loosen up. 

Alternatively, there are every day flights departing from Haneda Airport in Tokyo to the island. The flight lasts for a extra manageable 55 minutes!

Casting within the Shadow of Mount Fuji

The view of Mount Fuji from Lake Kawaguchiko.

So by now, you’re most likely fairly conscious of Japan’s spectacular saltwater fishing alternatives. However what about these of you who’re avid freshwater fishing fanatics? What does a go to to the “Land of the Rising Solar” should give you? Some top-quality angling motion, in fact!

Because of its mountainous terrain, Japan is residence to loads of freshwater streams, lakes, and rivers. As the vast majority of these are typically situated within the extra distant components of the area, it may be fairly laborious for guests to trace them down. Discovering a constitution captain or information close by is almost not possible. 

Nevertheless, there are some freshwater fisheries which might be simple to entry, filled with thrilling fish, and suited to friends of all talent ranges. Probably the greatest ones simply so occurs to be situated proper on the base of Mount Fuji!

Freshwater Fishing Subsequent to a Pure Marvel

Referred to as Fuji-goko, or the “5 Lakes Area,” the northern base of Mount Fuji is residence to, nicely, 5 lakes. In no specific order: Kawaguchiko, Saiko, Yamanakako, Shojiko, and Motosuko. 

The title is considerably deceptive, nonetheless. A go to right here will probably see you fishing solely Lake Kawaguchiko. That is by far the preferred lake, and the best one to entry. The opposite 4 lakes are so much much less developed and far tougher to succeed in. 

Lake Kawaguchiko is understood for its Bass fishing alternatives, notably relating to Largemouth Bass. You’ll additionally have the ability to goal Rainbow Trout. This fishery is energetic year-round, and the easiest way by far to discover it’s alongside a neighborhood information. 

Head to the north aspect of the lake, the place you’ll discover loads of deal with retailers and constitution boats. We notably advocate paying a go to to Wilderness Lake Lodge, situated close to Oishi Park. They’ll hook you up with fishing gear, in addition to loads of native suggestions and methods.

You may also buy a “play fishing” ticket right here, which is required to discover the lake.

Conventional Strategies within the Mountain Streams

Credit score: Yasuhiro Kojima, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

In addition to providing top-notch freshwater lake fishing, a go to to the Fuji-goko space is the right start line for anglers seeking to expertise a style of Japan’s mountain stream fishing alongside the Katsura and Sagami Rivers. 

Katsura and Sagami are two of the one locations the place vacationers can check their abilities towards river Rainbow Trout, Char, and Japanese Trout. Even higher, you’ll be utilizing a standard Japanese fly fishing method often called “tenkara.” It’s been beloved by locals for hundreds of years as a consequence of its simplicity and magnificence.

An instance of Tenkara fishing in a mountain stream.

Don’t fear when you’re not fairly prepared to surrender Western-style fly fishing, both. You may hire standard fly rods right here!

Fuji-goko is situated southwest of Tokyo. Though it has its personal airport, the best solution to entry it’s by taking a practice or bus to Kawaguchiko Station from town. One thing to concentrate on is that the local weather right here is way colder than Tokyo, so wrap up heat. 

Apart from that, you’ll most likely wish to deliver a digicam alongside. Fishing on this space supplies some critically spectacular photograph alternatives. Regardless of which a part of the lake you select to discover, you gained’t have the ability to escape the shadow of majestic Mount Fuji!

Historical Traditions and New Arrivals on Lake Kasumigaura

Talking of freshwater fishing, there’s most likely a picture that jumps into your thoughts when you consider it.

Maybe you image a lone angler settled alongside the financial institution of a river, armed with a barely battered however trusty rod.

Both that, or a freshwater fanatic decked out with the newest fly gear, in addition to just a few battle scars from that point they fought a record-breaking King Salmon.

On the subject of Japan, nonetheless, there’s one image that represents freshwater fishing greater than anything. It’s the sight of a hobiki-sen cruising alongside the water with its sails totally prolonged! 

A Hobiki-sen within the distance is a standard sight for Lake Kasumigaura’s anglers.

These conventional trawling vessels are powered by their majestic sails. They have been first used as a solution to industrial fish within the mid-1800s. Witnessing a hobiki-sen in full flight is an actual sight to behold. You may solely witness it on Lake Kasumigaura, situated in japanese Japan’s Ibaraki prefecture. 

Moist Your Line Alongside an Historical Angling Custom

Even higher? Though you’ll be able to’t fish from a hobiki-sen, Lake Kasumigaura presents up loads of angling alternatives for leisure fishermen. You’ll have the ability to forged your line amongst a panorama that you simply fairly actually is not going to expertise wherever else.

Lake Kasumigaura was as soon as a bay that fed into the Pacific Ocean. Now, it has the bragging rights of being Japan’s second-biggest lake. Masking 220 sq. kilometers, there’s room right here for each leisure anglers and industrial vessels alike. 

Bustling Ueno Station is your doorway to some unbelievable angling motion.

Positioned about an hour from Tokyo, the lake could be simply accessed from town’s Ueno Station. It’ll take you simply over an hour to succeed in Tsuchiura Station on the JR Joban line. From there you’ll be a brief stroll away from the lake. You’ll have the ability to spot the hobiki-sen simply! 

Lake Kasumigaura greater than helps Japan dwell as much as its repute as a nation of Bass lovers. The preferred catch right here by far is the Largemouth Bass, often called an “alien species.”

Alien species? Perhaps. Enjoyable to catch? Completely!

You might also discover non-native Channel Catfish on the finish of your line. Native species akin to pond Smelt, Icefish, and Trident Goby are frequent, too. However likelihood is that while you’re fishing in Lake Kasumigaura, you’ll be specializing in Bass!

Guests can fish from the shoreline, which is standard with locals, or head to the western finish of the lake. Right here, a plethora of constitution boats (recognized right here as “leisure boats”) will likely be ready for you.

Then it’s only a case of selecting to fish conventionally or on the fly. Put together to be awed not solely by the hobiki-sen, however the unbelievable angling on supply!

Hokkaido on Ice

Winter arrives in Hokkaido!

Ending up our record is an ice-cold location that has some critically scorching fishing alternatives. Suppose {that a} winter tour to Japan just about guidelines out any likelihood of putting off? Suppose once more!

From round January to March, the northernmost island of Hokkaido turns into one thing of a Wakasagi-fishing winter wonderland! 

Hokkaido is the second-largest island of Japan, and is separated from the mainland by water. One of the simplest ways to succeed in it’s by way of the Shinkansen rail community. This passes by “Seikan,” the world’s longest rail tunnel and Hokkaido’s solely connection to the remainder of Japan.

It’s truthful to say that even touring to this island is fairly thrilling and weird, not to mention the fishing it presents! 

The “Last Frontier” of Fishing in Japan

Ice fishing is the right winter exercise for anglers of all ages!

Ah, the fishing. Hokkaido is technically residence to a year-round fishery, however what actually retains guests flocking right here is the island’s unbelievable winter-time ice fishing alternatives.

Locals and vacationers alike come to Hokkaido for the prospect to arrange store on a frozen waterway and hook tasty native Wakasagi (often called Smelt in English). 

This type of angling is so standard right here that it’s routinely often called “Hokkaido’s winter custom.” It’s simple to see why this island has earned that title. It’s residence to an unlimited variety of lakes and rivers that turn out to be frozen fish-filled hotspots from January to March.

Smelt is a well-liked (and engaging!) catch in Hokkaido.

So the place precisely must you go to to embark in your very personal ice fishing journey? For vacationers and first-time guests, we recommend heading straight to Hokkaido’s capital metropolis, Sapporo.

Not solely is it the largest and most accessible location on the island, but it surely additionally supplies direct entry to a few of the space’s most celebrated ice fishing areas. 

The well-known Barato River is situated solely half-hour from downtown Sapporo. That is the right start line for model new ice fishermen and girls.

You’ll discover loads of skilled guides dotted across the river, working journeys in half-day chunks. There’s even a neighborhood restaurant that may fry up your catch afterwards!

Lake Shinotsu is one other Sapporo-adjacent ice fishing vacation spot that we really feel the necessity to spotlight. Positioned lower than an hour from the middle of town, it’s simply accessible by public transport, and is packed filled with tasty Smelt. 

Anglers who select to fish right here could have the choice of putting off alongside an skilled information in three other ways. You may decide to arrange a tent on the lake, choose a pre-built fishing hut, or courageous the weather and bait your hook out within the open, surrounded by a spectacular snowscape. 

There’s a cause why Hokkaido is commonly referred to as Japan’s last frontier. Why not come uncover it for your self?

BONUS: Fishing with Birds

Yep, fishing with birds!

Had your fill of hands-on angling motion? Need to take a step again and see how the locals do it? You simply should pay a go to to Gifu Prefecture’s Nagara River!

Sounds acquainted? We’re not stunned. This river is well-known worldwide for fairly just a few causes. It’s one of many solely three clear-flowing rivers in Japan, and is a well-liked vacationer vacation spot as a consequence of its assortment of iron-filled therapeutic scorching springs.

In our humble opinion, although, Nagara River’s actual declare to fame is its unbelievable fishing historical past.

Nagara River is full of historical past.

For almost all of Japan’s anglers, Nagara River is synonymous with one factor solely – cormorant fishing. This distinctive methodology of angling has performed a significant function within the historical past of Gifu Prefecture. 

It first began as a way for native fishermen to supply their households with meals. It’s been round for a whopping 1,300 years, and has developed right into a worthwhile trade and an enormous vacationer draw. So what makes cormorant fishing so particular?

For these of you who aren’t within the know, a cormorant is a big, prehistoric-looking hen that’s recognized for each its love for fish and acrobatic diving skills. And sure, cormorant fishing entails utilizing these birds to catch quite a lot of river fish species! 

An angler preps his cormorants for some angling motion.

It’s a fairly tough method that entails anglers tying a snare to the bottom of their cormorant’s throat. This stops these grasping birds from swallowing the big fish that they’re skilled to focus on. 

Unsurprisingly, you need to be considerably of a fishing grasp to efficiently grasp this method, so not simply anybody may give it a go. It’s a must to practice for no less than 10 years to earn the celebrated title of “Cormorant Fishermen of the Imperial Family Company,” which is handed down from father to son. 

How can I see it for myself?

Guests to Gifu Prefecture can take within the unbelievable sight of expert-level anglers cormorant fishing on the Nagara River from Could 11–October 18.

Usually going down underneath the quilt of darkness, cormorant fishing is really a sight to behold.

You is probably not decked out with your personal rod and reel, however witnessing these birds take flight and dive for his or her catch is simply as pulse-racing as any hands-on journey!

Must Know

Okay, so now we’ve satisfied you that an angling journey to Japan is fairly unmissable, you most likely have just a few final questions.

Is there a greatest time to go to the world for prime fishing motion? Do you want a fishing license? Will you actually should lug all of your rods and reels on a airplane?!

When to Go

Firstly, the perfect time to plan your angling journey relies on what kind of fishing you’d love to do, and the place. In case you’re visiting Japan within the winter months between January and March, then experiencing ice fishing in Hokkaido is a should. 

Need to stick strictly to Tokyo? Zauo Restaurant is open 12 months spherical, whereas Tokyo Bay is most plentiful for each massive recreation fish and Japanese Sea Bass throughout the fall. 

Hachijō-jima is productive 12 months spherical, however when you’d like to go to throughout the summer time and fall months, ensure you get in contact with Hachijō-jima Fishing Membership prematurely – it might get very busy! 

Freshwater anglers are in luck all all year long, however guests to Lake Kasumigaura ought to plan their journey between July and October to witness the hobiki-sen.

Tips on how to Put together

As for a fishing license? To place it merely, you just about don’t want one to fish in Japan. Saltwater fishing requires no license by any means, however there are rules surrounding the species you’ll be focusing on.

As these are topic to alter, examine native rules with both your constitution captain or native bait and deal with retailers within the space you’ll be fishing from.

On the subject of freshwater fishing, you don’t want a standard license to discover Japan’s rivers and lakes. Nevertheless, you typically might want to pay an entrance price or purchase a “allow” for the day. These could be bought from bait and deal with retailers both alongside the river banks or shores of the lake you’ll be fishing.

In case you’re stressing about the best way to pack up your fishing gear for the flight, don’t fear. We’d advocate doing so solely when you’ve got a very trusty rod that you simply’re not keen to depart behind.

In case you fish with a constitution captain or information, you’ll be supplied with every thing you want for a productive day on the water. 

The fishing spots we’ve outlined above are all situated close to fishing golf equipment or a number of bait and deal with retailers, the place you’ll have the ability to hire and even buy quite a lot of rods and reels. Japan is understood for producing a few of the highest-quality fishing gear round, so that you’ll be spoiled for alternative!

Come begin your Japanese fishing journey!

Do not forget that outdated fisherman’s saying we began this weblog with? Whether or not you select to comply with our record to the letter or use it as solely a place to begin to your journey, fishing in Japan will make you notice simply how true it’s.

With so many numerous waters to select from, it’s time to seize your rod, get on the market, and fish them. We will assure you gained’t wish to cease!

Have you ever ever been fishing in Japan? Do you might have a favourite spot that isn’t on our record? Have you ever tried a fishing method extra uncommon than utilizing birds to hook your catch? Tell us within the feedback under!

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