touring the rents; pt. 1

cormorant fishing is a major source of tourism for the city of gifu. it is one of the few places in the world where the traditional form has been practiced, uninterrupted for over 1,000 years.

starting in may, the fishermen go out each night, two or three to a boat, with ten or so cormorants swimming beside them. the fishermen hold on to rope that is tied to each bird’s neck, preventing them from swallowing the fish they catch.  as the birds go to work catching fish, the fishermen work to control the boat, tend to the fire lighting their way, and most importantly, pull the birds out of the water to take the fish from their mouths.

ayu, a small sweetfish, are the main catch.