Cormorant fishing in the daytime (Photo: Ehime Prefecture)

An Idyll on the Hijikawa River

Elegant pleasures amid beautiful river scenery

Cormorant fishing in the daytime (Photo: Ehime Prefecture)
Anonymous   - 4 min read

The Hijikawa is a wide river that flows through the middle of Ozu. This beautiful waterway is deeply engrained in the psyche of the people living there. There are many options for making the most of the river, from rides on the elegant pleasure boats, to watching the various bird life that makes the river its home.

Garyu boat ride

In the past, the only way to cross the Hijikawa River was by boat, but these ferries were retired in 1913 when a bridge was built over the river. In 1980, the Hijikawa boats were revived so that people could enjoy this old custom again. Nowadays the main purpose of this river cruise is to admire the view of Furoan, the little rustic hut built on stilts as part of the Garyu Sanso villa.

Cormorant fishing in the daytime
Cormorant fishing in the daytime (Photo: Ehime Prefecture)

Saturday, Sunday and public holidays in April and May
Inquiries: Ozu City Tourism Association Tel: (089) 324-2664

Ozu Ukai Cormorant Fishing

Ukai is a traditional method of catching river fish using cormorants. Ozu ukai is one of the three major places in Japan where this splendid water show can still be seen.

Visitors watch the cormorants catching fish from a roofed pleasure boat on the Hijikawa River. A dinner of local cuisine is served. Watching the cormorant master throwing the fish into his boat is a sight to behold. Ukai is held during the daytime and at night, so you can enjoy the performance with a backdrop of the beautiful scenery around the river, or with the dramatic torchlight at night. The cormorants are treated as family by the fishermen, and they typically live longer, healthier lives than cormorants in the wild.

Cormorant fishing at night
Cormorant fishing at night (Photo: Ehime Prefecture)

Night-time: June 1 to September 20
Daytime: Every Sunday from June to September, and August 13 to 15

Ozu City Tourism Association Tel: (089) 324-2664
Ozu Machinoeki Asamoya Tel: (089) 324-7011

Sightseeing on the Hijikawa River

Enjoy a relaxing cruise on a roofed pleasure boat gliding in the slow stream of Hijikawa River. Various sightseeing courses and lunch options are available. After your cruise you can stroll around streets which have remained almost unchanged from the Meiji period.

Floating past Garyu Sanso
Floating past Garyu Sanso (Photo: Ehime Prefecture)

Ryoma Saisai: 40 minutes sightseeing, with a light meal of onigiri rice balls
Ryoma Yuyu: 60 minutes sightseeing, with a lunch box set
Ryoma Soso: 90 minutes sightseeing, with a lunch box set

Ozu Machinoeki Asamoya Tel: (089) 324-7011

Sightseeing may be canceled if the river is in spate, even if the weather is fine.

Names in Japanese
肱川 — hijikawa — Hijikawa River
鵜飼 — ukai — cormorant fishing


Anonymous @rod.walters__archived

I was born in Bristol, England, and I came to Japan in 1991 … which means I’ve lived half my life in this island nation on the other side of the world. The theme of my career in Japan has been communication. I started as an English teacher, and moved into translation as I learned Japanese....