Category Archives: Kyoto

A Different Way to Fish

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A Different Way to Fish

August 9, 2011

On a boat, floating on the Katsura-gawa.

Arashiyama, Kyoto, Japan

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The little Japanese girl in front of me is bending over the edge of the boat feeling the water. I take a look over the edge.

“The water is not as deep as a thought.” I said out loud.

I look over to Cholo and thought to myself, “I don’t think he heard me.”

I look at the other tourists that shared our boat. There’a a Canadian couple with their two boys, a Japanese woman with her two girls and a mix of Japanese tourists up front.

I’m beginning to think U KAI is quite an event that even locals come out to watch it.

The old man driving the boat with a long pole starts to maneuver the boat. I’ve notice that our boat is starting to line up with the other boats.

The audible crackling of firewood signals the event is about to start.

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U KAI or Cormorant Fishing is an event to look out for during the summer season in Japan.

I have been quite intrigued about Cormorant Fishing ever since I saw an episode about it that air on NHK World. It’s quite amazing to see a seabird “fishing”.

You start off the evening by getting unto a boat that will bring you to the middle of the river. You’ll know that the show is about to start because the boatmen start to align their respective boats into one long line. The fishermens boat comes into full view. You won’t miss it because there’s a huge fireball hanging from the end of the boat. This is to attract the fish to come closer to the surface.

You hear them quacking first, then once your eyes adjust to the darkness you see these black birds in front of you.

With a bang from the pole, they dive into the water and surface in an instant. You hear the fishermen shout something in Japanese. You get lost in translation.

You then realize that there’s fish in their throats!

One of the fisherman then pulls them over, lifts them from the water and makes the bird spit out the fish. A splash heralds their return to the water.  Another banging of the pole unto the side of the boat sends the birds underwater again.

The show lasts for an hour.

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You don’t get to eat the fish.

But you do get to experience a piece of history and experience tradition in before your very eyes.

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The show costs 1,700 Yen for adults and 850 Yen for kids aged 4 to 12 years old.

There is a kiosk that sells tickets. Make your way to the Katsura-gawa. Cross Togetsukyo Bridge and turn right after that small kiosk selling souvenirs  and walk straigh. It is located right before you go up the steps to the Iwatayama Monkey Park.

For more photos click here.

A Burst Of Color: The Yukata Girls of Kyoto

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A Burst Of Color: The Yukata Girls of Kyoto

 

Arashiyama Kyoto, Japan.

August 10, 2011

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“If we walk down this street go straight and turn left, we will end up by Katsura-gawa.” I said to Cholo.

“Are you sure?” he asks.

I rolled my eyes and replied, “Yes.”

“How do you know?”

“It’s on the map.” I replied.

A burst of colored appeared before me. I fell silent.

I took out my mom’s camera.

The girl passed us by.

I turned around raised by mom’s camera and CLICK!

 

 

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My first Yukata sighting.

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We had just arrived in Kyoto that afternoon and decided to venture around our neighborhood.

We found ourselves right across from the Tenryu-ji in Susukinobaba-chō, Ukyō Ward, Kyoto, Japan, a UNESCO world heritage sight. We decided to explore it another day and turned left on the intersection.

I was welcomed with a throng of girls dressed in their Yukata.

Suddenly everywhere I turned, there are lots of girls in their Yukata!

It’s like watching colorful flowers bloom under the summer sun. It is indeed a sight to behold.

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If one decides to travel to Japan in the summer, I believe one of the best sights that awaits you are the Yukata girls. It amazes me that such tradition lives in a modern society.

It is perfectly okay to have your photo taken with them! They look forward to it. Just approach them, ask kindly and you will be rewarded.

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to view the complete album (on my facebook), click here.