Notsuke Peninsula is Japan’s largest sand spit (a point of sandy deposit which projects into a body of water) located between Shiretoko Peninsula and Nemuro Peninsula in Hokkaido. This expansion of land stretches as long as 26 km and has a unique shape that is like a shrimp’s bent back. It is famous for its distinctive landscapes called Todo-wara and Nara-wara, the woods of withered trees; Todo-wara consists of oak trees and Nara-wara consists of beech trees.
Shrimp fishery using Utasebune, a traditional 3-sail fishing boat, is practiced on this peninsula in spring and fall. It is a kind of trawl net fishing by using seven pouched nets by which to avoid damaging Zostera (seagrass) used as the bait to catch shrimps.
The outline of an Utasebune boat floating off the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk displays the representative sight of the peninsula. Utasebune fishery can be seen from the sightseeing boat that departs from Odaito Fishery Harbor in Bekkai-cho.
Shimanto-gawa is the longest river in Shikoku.
Starting from the east slope of Irazu-yama Mountain which towers 1336 meters above sea level, the water runs through 318 tributaries including 35 main feeders. The river meanders widely through the south western area of Shikoku and runs through a gentle elevation finally reaching the Pacific Ocean at Shimoda, Shimanto City.
The upper reaches of the stream includes the northern area of Tsuno Town and Yusuhara Town and is rich in nature throughout the seasons with scenic views such as Shikoku Karst, Tengu-kogen Highland, Shimanto Genryu Forest and Shimanto Headwaters House. In the lower reaches of the river there are also attractions including boat trips, Dragonfly Park and Sata Chinka Bridge.
The river has an abundance of aquatic life, and the local fishery preserves traditional fishing methods unique to the region.
Hita in Oita Prefecture is one of the few places where fishing using cormorants takes place. The history of cormorant fishing is very long and is even mentioned in the 'Nihon-shoki' (second-oldest record of Japanese ancient history) and the 'Kojiki' (oldest extant chronicle).
Chinese records from the Sui Dynasty also mention the visit of an ambassador to Japan at that time and the unusual fishing method he saw using cormorants. Fish caught this way are flawless, without a scratch and very fresh, and especially prized as gifts is the sweet 'ayu' fish. After the Meiji period, however, when many cormorant fishers lost the support of their daimyo lords, this method of fishing gradually died out and today surivives as a tourist industry only.
In Hita, cormorant fishing can be seen accompanying the opening of the ayu season on the Mikuma River, from 20 May to 31 October. The sight of 62 houseboats softly lighting up the river has become a graceful symbol of the town. In 1966, cormorant fishing was designated as an Important Intangible Cultural Heritage of Oita.
Mie Prefecture is well known for the many women divers (amasan) who, historically, have caught seafood and famous marine products.
At the end of World War II, Mie Prefecture was reputed to have more than 6000 amasan in the Toba and Shima regions. However, due to the reduction in fishing resources, an unstable and sluggish market, and the harsh working conditions, there have been fewer and fewer women read to do the job. Today there are only about 1300 aging, yet still active, amasan.
The amasan's main targets are awabi (abalone), sazae (turban shells), and namako (sea cucumbers). A few skilled and experienced amasan are able to capture iseebi (lobsters) without a scratch. The fishing methods these amasan use are invaluable to the ecology of the sea as they do not encourage over-fishing.
It can be said that the amasan of Mie are a living link to fishing methods and practises of the past.
Nagaki are enclosures made of rocks that enable fish to be caught using the sea's tides. At high tide, when the nagaki is under water, fish move inside; when the tide goes out and the sea level drops below the walls, the fish are trapped and easily caught.
This fishing method is practiced not only in Okinawa and Kyushu, but in Polynesia and in parts of Southeast Asia. In Okinawa, the nagaki is famous for its use especially along the Sawada coast of Irabu Island and the south coast of Kohama Island.
The nagaki in Kohama are up to 12m wide by 1200m long, making them the biggest in the world. It is said that in old times, nagaki were first built for a lady born in Kohama who served in the court of the Ryukyu King.
Ovet the centuries, most nagaki have collapsed, but some are still used. Nagaki is a way of fishing that lets you feel a sense of fun.