Sado Tarai-bune or tub boat is a traditional fishing boat that was developed in Sado city, Niigata prefecture. It was in the early Meiji period when tarai-bune, made from a washtub, first appeared and they are still used for fishing in some places, although they are regarded as quite unusual among the fishing boats used in coastal areas.
The coastline of the Ogi peninsula in Sado is covered with many sunken rocks and small inlets and it has long been a source of kelp and turbans. There tarai-bune have been especially effective as they have a tight turning circle. In this area, tarai-bune were once so important that they would be part of a bride’s wedding trousseau.
At Yogi Port, there are some tarai-bune for tourists to ride or row.
When operating the boat, people are advised to stand the T-shaped paddle upright and, while looking at the desired destination, row the paddle as if they were drawing the number eight.
Sado tarai-bune are a traditional and practical fishing boats that were born of necessity, in response to local geographical features.
Todo (Sea Lion) Island is located to the right north of Cape Sukoton at the north end of Rebun Island. The island with a circumference of 4 km is surrounded sheer cliffs. You can go to the island by a fishing boat from Rebun Island, but there are no piers. As the boats come alongside some rocks or cliffs, you cannot make a landing when the sea is rough. The only man-made structures on the island are a watch house and a rotting remnant of the old watch house.
Todo Island is a plateau-like island, which is the treasure trove of alpine plants. Many species of plants that are peculiar to Rebun Island can be found on this island, too. In summer seals come and rest themselves here, and so do sea lions in winter. It is also the breeding ground of slaty-backed gulls and cormorants. Todo Island is a precious place where nature remains intact.
“Isaribi” is a Japanese term for fishing lights, or fish attraction lights, seen from the shore. In modern Japan, it usually refers to the lights of cuttlefish fishing boats seen during the summer.
During the harvest season, the horizon is lined with brilliant fishing lights. Dozens of lights look like jewels illuminating the dark surface of the sea and create a really fantastic sight.
Many people feel the coming of summer when they see isaribi on the horizon. Isaribi look beautiful on fine evenings of course, but they create an even more mysterious, or dreamy, atmosphere on the misty evenings.
Ose Shrine is in Nishiura Enashi in Numazu City, Shizuoka Prefecture. As it enshrines Hikitajikara no Mikoto, it is formally named Hikitajikara no Mikoto Shrine. It is also called Ose Myojin Shrine.
The origin of the shrine is not identified, but, according to one story, the shrine was founded because, when an island called Biwashima emerged by the elevation of the sea bottom due to a big earthquake in 684, the local people believed that the god had pulled land from Tosa province (present-day Kochi Prefecture), where a lot of land sank into the sea by the same earthquake.
The enshrined deity, Hikitajikara no Mikoto, is known as the guardian god of the sea and has been worshipped by fishermen in Suruga Bay. A lot of Ema-plates depicting fishing activities in the old days and model fishing-ships made by ancient fishing people preserved at the shrine. These votive items are considered historically precious and prefecturally designated as a tangible folk cultural property.
Kami-ike Pond in the precinct is counted as one of the Seven Wonders in Izu because it is a fresh-water pond in spite of being located just by the sea.
Azechi Point is a small peninsula located to the west of Kiritappu Peninsula, in the vicinity of Kiritapp Town of Eastern Hokkaido. It protrudes out over the sea as if it is watching over Biwako Bay.
Azechi Point is known to have a spectacular sweeping view of the beautiful shore lines of Biwako Bay and Hamanaka Bay and, facing the Pacific Ocean, has an expansive view of table shaped islands unique to this region.
From the point visitors can observe closely the island well known as a nesting ground for the rare Tufted Puffin as well as Kenpokki Island, which is a breeding ground for numerous sea birds including Japanese Cormorants. Numerous strangely shaped rocks appear and disappear under the raging waves of the Pacific Ocean.
Visiting the point in the early morning is also worthwhile. In season, visitors can see a dynamic scene of fleets of kelp catching ships racing each other towards the ocean.
Sunset is also spectacular; the scene of the island and the ocean glowing red reflecting the crimson colored sun setting down over the Pacific Ocean is much loved by locals.
Azechi Point is a place where the visitor can indulge in the spectacle of nature from the moment the day dawns to the last minutes of the sun setting on the horizon.
A fishermen’s big catch banner or tairyōbata is the specialty product made in Misaki City, Kanagawa Pref. It is selected as one of 100 Fine Specialty Products of the prefecture. Now, there are only a few places where the tairyōbata is made in Japan. These banners are flown from the vessels as the signal to let the families and peers who are waiting for the vessels to return to the harbor know of the big hauls of fish as soon as possible. Those banners were handmade at the town of Misaki, which has been the base for tuna fishery, since the beginning of the Meiji period. This banner was originally given as a gift to the owners of the fishing boats when a new boat was built. However, they are recently given as the gifts on various occasions such as marriage, child birth, opening of a shop, etc. Images like cranes, turtles, sea breams, Mt. Fuji, the Takarabune (the treasure ship), and Ebisu-Daikoku (the god of fishing), all of which are thought to be lucky, are painted on the banners. The tairyōbata of Misaki is an attractive marine art to represent fishermen’s spirit.
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.
Kifune Festival held in Manazuru-cho, Ashigara-shimo-gun, Kanagawa pref. is counted as one of Japan’s three largest marine festivals and a designated National Significant Intangible Folk Cultural Asset. The origin of the festival is dated back to the middle of the 17th century, when people began to put Mikoshi (portable shrine) on a ship to pray for purification of fishing boats and stone carrying boats in the harbor and then carried it around the village. This old, traditional and pious festival is held on July 27th to 28th, filling the whole town of Manazuru with air of excitement. As the festival is composed of a lot of exciting spectacles such as the colorfully carved Kobaya-bune boat, Manazuru-bayashi (traditional band playing music) livelily cheering up the town, reverent Kashima-odori dance, and flower floats and Kaidenma (the towing boat) for which masculine strength is fully expressed, a lot of tourists from all over the country visit the town of Manazuru, longing for a glance at the festival. On these two days, the citizens of Manazuru all pull together to make this festival a great success.