Silk Road Adentures travel blog

Inuyama-Jo castle

Views over Inuyama from the castle

Holding on tight!

Samurai armour

The main donjon of the castle

Our transport for the evening to view the fishing

Cormorant fishing

Please let me have some fish!

Mmmm - din dins

Eating a few legs


Inuyama is famous as it is home to Japan's oldest existing castle - originating from 1440. The castle is located on top of a forested hill and still has its donjon intact (the main bit) which looks out over the city and river. This is the first castle we had actually been inside and it was actually quite small with very steep and narrow staircases.

However the main reason we decided to spend the night in Inuyama was to see the cormorant fishing (ukai). This is now only done for the tourists rather than a way to commercially catch fish, but it was still quite interesting to see it. Especially as it is done at night - we had thought it would be done during the day.

The cormorant fishermen basically have a long-boat, in which they light a fire in a basket which dangles over the side of their boat - attracting the fish to the surface. As the boat moves along slowly, one man holds up to eight cormorant birds on leads and they swim in the river towards the front of the boat. Once they get a fish, they obviously cannot swallow it (you hear some pretty horrible choking noises), as the leads act like chokers around their necks. The birds then (reluctantly) give the fish to the fisherman and jump back in the water.

Quite an interesting thing to see although we did feel a little sorry for the birds. Apparently they take 8 years to train up and once they have finished their stints at cormorant fishing they have to be looked after until their death as they are protected species!

Not mcuh else to say about the town really except we had some great squid and sushi for dinner that evening and the youth hostel we had booked ourselves into was more like a four star hotel! One of the best places we have stayed in so far.



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