Inuyama

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Inuyama  is located along the Kiso River.  It is famous as the site of one of Japan's oldest original castles and ukai fishing.  We took a lunchtime cruise to watch a demonstration of this ancient fishing technique.  We were one of six small boats each with about 25 diners and a guide. Hiroko Takagi shows off part of our obento lunch box.  It included a hot seafood stew that was delicious and lots of other goodies and dessert. After lunch we motored up and down the river, past homes and steep hillsides.  Our guide entertained the group with stories and jokes.  Hiroko found it a challenge to keep up with the translations.  Jokes are very difficult to explain in another language. Ukai fishing is normally done at night, when the fire in the metal basket attracks fish to the surface.  Then the cormorants scoop them up but can't swallow because of a ring around their neck.  The fisherman pulls in the bird who deposits the fish for their master. It seemed as if each cormorant had their own personality.  The fisherman talked to the birds and maneuvered them with the strings. Some birds seemed to want to stay in the water and play, even after they caught a fish.  The fisherman had to haul them in to the boat. After the demonstration, the fishing boats came up along side our dinner boats.  We could see the birds close up and enjoy their playful antics.