It should come as no surprise that, being an island nation crisscrossed with rivers and spotted with freshwater lakes, Japan is a fantastic country in which to go fishing. From large ocean fish to catching ayu with your bare hands, there is something that will interest fisherfolk of all sorts.
However, if you look up ‘Japan’s Best Fishing Spots’, it is highly unlikely – if at all – that you will find anything in Aichi. Yet, while our area is not necessarily renowned for the sport, that doesn’t mean that there is no fishing to be done. In fact, there are a number of spots at which you can enjoy the pastime, from the northern hills to the Chita Bay, and even in central Nagoya itself! And best of all, with some exceptions, most of these can be enjoyed with the whole family.
So what are you waiting for? Pack up your rods, your bait, and your kids and get fishing
From May to mid-October it is the season for ayu, a sweet fish delicacy that is particularly famed in Gifu and Aichi and is perfect for the barbecue. There are a number of ways to fish for ayu, whether it be regular line fishing, using cloth strips as decoys or even using cormorant birds. The easiest way is to simply walk into the river and pick the fish out with your hands.
At the Otogawa River Fishing Weir and the Shirasagi Fishing Weir, tatami walk spaces are laid out in the river like a net, and as the ayu are washed up. All you need do is wander out, pick them up and put them in your bucket. Of course, this takes little (or no) skill, but it is a great introduction to fishing for small children. Furthermore, barbecues are provided so that you can cook and eat your ‘catch’ right there and then.
One of the biggest problems when fishing with kids is that they are yet to grasp the concept of the thrill being in the hunt, wanting instead instant results (something I recall all too well from my own impetuous childhood). The hassle of loading up the gear and heading out to some far-flung river or pier with the constant refrain of ‘are we nearly there yet?’ is no great joy either.
Well, all around Nagoya you can find opportunities for urban fishing. Urban fishing centers are essentially small indoor pools stocked with fish, in which you pay a small amount to try to catch something – almost literally shooting fish in a barrel. One such place is Fishing Park 22 in Kiyosu, where you can catch snapper, flounder, horse mackerel and other seasonal fish. And once you’ve bagged your catch you can either cook it in their restaurant or take it home.
There is anecdotal evidence of fly fishing in Japan as early as the ninth century BCE, and it is still very much enjoyed to this day. It is, however, pretty difficult as an outsider to find the best spots at which to fish. It may be an idea to ask in one of the many tackle shops (more on which later) or you could take part in a tour.
Trout and King is recognized as one of the most prominent fishing tour company for foreigners and offers multi-day tours from Nagoya with professional guides. If you are hoping to catch Japanese trout, yamame and iwana, as well as the possibility of rainbow trout and brown trout, check out their website. It is not, however, a cheap option, and is thus best enjoyed by the more serious angler.
Trout and King: troutandking.com
If you want to get out onto the open sea, the Minami-chita Bay south of Nagoya area is a great area from which to catch mackerel, scorpionfish, cuttlefish, and snapper among many others. There are a number of reasonably-priced boat fishing tours that will take you out to sea and provide all the equipment, if you so require.
Many of these tours also provide an option for you to cook your catch right there on the boat, and you really can’t get much fresher than that! If you are interested, you can find some of these tours at activityjapan.com.
Of course, if you want to fish in the Minami-chita Bay, you don’t need to go out in a boat at all. All around the bay are numerous piers, beaches, and rocks from where you can cast off.
They are too many to list here, but if that’s the kind of thing you are looking for, check out the fishing-you.com website which has a pretty exhaustive list of coastal fishing points in Aichi and further afield.
In fact, Fishing You is possibly your best first stop for fishing in the area. They have stores all around Aichi selling tackle and any equipment you might need. The staff is also helpful and attentive, though it helps to bring a Japanese-speaking friend with you. Stores such as Joshuya, Sansui, and Sabalo also deal in fishing supplies.
You should be aware that you require a permit for fishing in Japan, and this may change from region to region. Check with the local authority for details, or ask at a tourist information center, or even a local fisherman for further assistance.
Many fishing spots offer supplies for rent, but it pays to confirm before you head out there. With exception of Hokkaido, all of Japan’s lakes and rivers prohibit fishing from October through February.