Fishing

Various queer methods of fishing are still employed in the rural districts of Japan. In some of the central provinces, baskets may be seen hung over a waterfall to catch such fish as attempt to leap it. In certain other places - for instance, at Numata on the Tonegawa--this arrangement is modified by the construction of an inclined bamboo platform, which produces an upward flow towards the centre of the stream. Thither the fish are carried by the force of the artificial current, as described in Murray Handbook. Then there is the well-known cormorantfishing, of which details are given on pp. 105-8 of the present work. The arrow-shaped fish-traps lining the shores of Lake Biwa are a curiosity calculated to strike any observant eye. So are the "fish outlooks" that dot the coast of Izu. Each of these stands on some lofty cliff overlooking the sea, where an experienced man keeps watch, and blows a horn to the fishermen below to draw in the large village net, whenever a school of albacore has entered it. A sight fascinating on account of the great dexterity involved, is that of the trout-fishers in some clear, placid streams, who simply land their prey with hand-nets. This may be witnessed on the waters of the Kitayama-gawa, just below that loveliest of spots, Doro-Hatchō. To such methods must be added the fish-spearing practised on many points of the coast, and the whaling off Kishū and Shikoku, the whales being sometimes actually caught in nets. The flies used by Japanese anglers should also interest the sportsman, being quite different from those employed by European fishermen. To an English eye the native method of fly-fishing will seem rude; but it is justified by its results.

Books recommended - Japanese Fisheries, by G. E. Gregory, in Vol. V. Part I. of the "Asiatic Transactions." For fishing,-not as a curiosity, but as a practical sport,- readers are referred to the Introduction to Murray Japan Handbook.