Kyoto Shimbun 2013.7.1 News

Cheers at Usho's Harness Handling
Arashiyama Cormorant Fishing

The season for traditional cormorant fishing, "Arashiyama Noryo Ukai," started on the evening of July 1 on the Oi River, upstream from the Togetsu-kyo Bridge, in Ukyo Ward, Kyoto. Amid the flickering flames of bonfires, the cormorants' performance, as they were manipulated by the skillful harness-work of "Usho," or fishermen, in catching fish, drew cheers from the crowd.

Held by "Arashiyama Hoshokai," or Arashiyama conservation society, and "Arashiyama Tsusen," or a boat company, this event has become a summer tradition.

After the "Kawabiraki" ritual, or river-opening ceremony, was conducted by officials on the shores of the river, two Usho, dressed in traditional clothing of dark kimonos and straw skirts, departed on two boats with six cormorants each. Each time the cormorants dived into the water at the Usho's call of "Sore" and returned with a sweetfish or a minnow, the roughly 220 spectators on 13 old-fashioned houseboats applauded thunderously.

Ukai fishing performances will be held until September 16. For more information, contact Arashiyama Tsusen at 075-861-0302.

(translated by Galileo, Inc.)

Photo= Usho fisherman briskly shout as he handles the harnesses (Oi River, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto)