It is known that the tradition of cormorant fishing (ukai in Japanese) has very old origins in Gifu, being known for more than 1300 years. During the medieval period, 450 years ago, the samurai warlord Oda Nobunaga protected this tradition by creating usho, a title for the cormorant fishing masters.
Later, the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, while visiting Gifu, used to watch the masters demonstrations, requesting to receive some of the fishes caught to prepare sushi.
The tradition survived until today, and 6 masters in Gifu are carrying forward this old art and making demonstrations for tourists. And of course, the city’s artistic manhole covers are representing cormorants…
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: