Summer is here, and as the weather warms up so does the water, making it the perfect season to go fishing. This hobby is common in Japan, especially on holidays when families, members young and old, swarm fishing spots all over Japan.
Catch ‘Em All: Fish Diversity in Japan
Japan boasts a wide variety of fish in its waters, and it enjoys its own seafood resources as a major source of food in the country. You can find fish such as mahi-mahi, horse mackerel, albacore tuna, flounder, rainbow trout, and cherry salmon in bodies of water around the Kanto region if you manage to go fishing in this area during the summertime. Sushi restaurants also commonly sell these kinds of fish, making fishing a profitable and recreational activity. Therefore, commercial and recreational fishing remain quite popular in Japan.
Where to Begin?
Japanese people often enjoy fishing for two reasons: as a serious sport and for recreational pleasure. In some fishing groups or facilities, since fishing remains as a sport activity, some fish are supposed to be released again after they are caught, as the purpose of the fishing is not to catch and consume the fish, but to accumulate points from catch larger and more fish. However in some recreational fishing areas, fish can be taken home after being caught.
Saltwater fishing in Japan is generally free, so most fees are either as an entrance fee or licensing fee for freshwater fishing (in public or private fishing communities) and for tackle. Most fishing spots also offer fishing supplies for rent, though if you want to buy them, shops such as Joshuya, Sansui, and Sabalo also offer fishing supplies, and you can even buy them online on some of these stores’ websites.
Japanese people also utilizes some unique fishing techniques, two of them being Ayu fishing, common in Hokkaido, and Tenkara fishing, common in river areas. For example, Ayu fishing is common for catching Ayu fish: utilizing fabrics to make decoy fish for the aggressive Ayu so that it will be more likely to attack the bait and become easier to catch.
For foreigners, finding a fishing spot that is foreigner-friendly might be tricky, but this list might help you decide the types of fishing spots which might fit your taste:
Tokyo Bay Fishing
If you like recreational fishing, this spot is for you. In Tokyo Bay Fishing, the fishing activity schedule is predetermined, with recreational fishing from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This fishing spot requires you to get on a vessel with up to 9 people per boat, and you can sail around Tokyo Bay to fish for 8,400 yen (around US$76). The facility offers fishing supplies for rent, and is available from August till late November. It is accessible through Toei Oedo Line, Kachidoki Station.
Forest Springs Kaisei
If you like sport fishing for long hours, this facility is perfect for you. Located in Kanagawa prefecture, the facility is located near Kaisei Mizube Sports Park, a 17-minutes walking distance from Kaisei Station. The price for the license varies depending on the hours, but it is noticeably cheaper than Tokyo Bay Fishing, as the fishing itself is done in the pond area inside the facility. It is open for the whole year, although the hours differ between spring/summer seasons and fall/winter seasons. Because the facility is meant to be for sports fishing and not purely for recreation, some regulations exist as to what kinds of bait and what kinds of hooks can be used. More information can be found on its website, although it is primarily in Japanese.
Zauo Fishing Restaurant
This one fits the foodie within all of us. If you want to fish and eat your catch straight after, Zauo will make your foodie dream come true. In Zauo, the price of the meal depends on the fish you catch in the indoor pool around the restaurant’s tables. Once you catch your fish, you can choose from four ways to serve your fish: as sashimi, grilled/boiled, deep-fried, or as sushi. This restaurant is especially attractive for families, as you will definitely get a fish in a short amount of time, and both children and adults alike can enjoy the experience of fishing and eating your own catch. In Tokyo, Zauo branches can be found in Shinjuku, Meguro, and Shibuya, and in order to have a table, you have to reserve one day beforehand on the website, which is available in English.
In a country where it is easy to get lost in one’s mundane routine, a quiet hobby to relax such as fishing can add a splash of variety to your daily life. Looking at these places, hopefully you can find a place where you can either try fishing for the first time, or rediscover your fishing hobby in Japan.
Yulinda / INDONESIA