Japan, Day 2: Intro to Telescopic Rods and Tenkara Rods

On August 29, 2012
Comments (17)

Yesterday several of you requested to learn more about the different telescopic rods available in Japan. There is an incredible variety of fixed-line methods of fishing in this country. Different telescopic rods which are designed and manufactured with specific purposes in mind. Yet, these are largely unfamiliar to most people.

Based on your requests, I decided to revisit the Sansui store in Tokyo today. I changed some plans, took a long bus ride, then a subway ride and walked for about 15 minutes in sweltering heat with a camera hanging on my neck just for you! I showed up at the Sansui store which specializes in fixed-line methods of fishing to give you an overview of the different telescopic rods used for fresh-water fishing. Please keep in mind that even though I show you about 9 different types of rods in this video, there are probably twice as many kinds of telescopic rods. Hopefully this will help clarify a bit what the different rods are made for: not all telescopic rods are created equal. Please forgive if the quality of the video is not that great or if there are no subtitles, but this was shot just a few hours ago, and the editing done quickly.

As for the rest of the day: after visiting Sansui it was time to take the bullet-train down to Nagoya where Margaret and I would be visiting Dr. Ishigaki.

We spent a good amount of time at his “tenkara-heya” (tenkara room). I was in awe at his collection of old and new tenkara rods, tenkara nets, tenkara flies and other relics. It was quite a treat to spend time there. We discussed rod design, going through 30+ year old tenkara rods and the modern ones as well as prototypes I’ve been working on. And, we talked about all the flies he had displayed in his “tenkara museum”. Here are a couple of pictures from this evening:

Daniel Galhardo and Dr. Ishigaki at the tenkara room

Dr. ishigaki showing different tenkara rods

Tenkara flies

A 30+ year old box of tenkara flies that Dr. Ishigaki cherishes.

We joined Dr. Ishigaki and his wife at their home for a delightful dinner consisting of several small dishes (which is by the way one of my favorite things about Japanese cuisine and my favorite way of eating – as long as I don’t have to do the dishes).

Dinner with Dr. Ishigaki and his wife

Time to hit the hay now, for a day of meetings and travelling tomorrow.

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17 Responses to Japan, Day 2: Intro to Telescopic Rods and Tenkara Rods

  1. Matt "statikpunk" Donovan says:

    Ha :) Dr. I has got just a couple rods huh? 😉

    I have a corner of my own room that is slowly but surley becoming very similar to Dr. I’s “Tenkara-heya”

  2. Tom Davis says:

    Very interesting video. Thank you Daniel for taking the time to record and edit it.


  3. Craig says:

    Great video with even better explanations of what and why for the gear used.

  4. Anthony says:

    Thanks for the update Daniel. Loved the video – keep them coming!

  5. Anthony says:

    p.s. don’t forget the fly tying videos. I for one am very anxious to see more Japanese fly tyers in action.

  6. TJ Ferreira says:

    Big thumbs up on this video and I feel well worth the extra time you took to make it happen.

    I think this will go far in explaining the different telescopic rods and why all the cheapies we see on eBay are just not designed with tenkara at the heart.

    Only Tenkara USA seems to have went to this level of travel overseas multiple times to learn about tenkara right from the horses mouth, and is why so many customers love TUSA gear.

    Very cool video!

    And thanks Margaret for your great help in making this video happen so we non Japanese speaking folks can made heads and tails of it.


    • Thank you TJ! I thought it would be worth the time going there for the video. It is wonderful there are so many really cool methods of fishing to be explored, but that means there is a need to talk about them all too.
      Hopefully you’ll get to come this way sometime in the not-so-distant future.

  7. Rob says:

    Daniel, Thanks for video of the store…just a cool thing to see all the rods and gear…kinda like a candy store when you were a kid!

  8. TJ Ferreira says:

    One day Daniel, one day. 😎 After I get to chat about Yamame and Iwana all day, would be nice to catch at least one of each. 😎 I am easy.

    Some of those other rods look fun. I think the ultra small Tanago rods are cute and I could see catching some small micro fish near my house in the ponds or creeks.

    I think with blue-gill ad the like I would prefer tenkara rod but for these little pip-squeaks of fish I see in the creek, that keep grabbing my kebari, a Tanago rod could be fun.


  9. Thanks for going out of your way Daniel! The video and the rest of the write up is really cool!

    • By the way, so there is no misunderstanding, the video in no way intends to “make fun of”, or diminish any form of fishing. I do not think it came across that way, but just in case. Each method of fishing is wonderful and should be embraced where it fits. I specifically went to a store and asked for a walk through to illustrate the different methods and rods designed for them. In case people think I’m misinterpreting stuff I will try having the people here in Japan narrate the story of their fishing methods.

  10. WOW, I know I asked for some pictures and videos inside of some Japanese tackle shops but this kind of blew me away. Probably one of the best tenkara videos I’ve seen. Much more than I expected. I had to watch it a few times to catch all the details. No doubt it will serve as good ammunition in the future when people confuse any telescopic rod with tenkara. Well done and a round of applause should go to Margaret for having the patience to translate all of that. Nice.

  11. Oleg says:

    Japanese fixed line fishing tradition is really great, much thanks for Daniel for this introduction.

  12. […] debate can be best understood by seeing this, and then reading this (no permalinks, you want the August 29 and 30 […]

  13. David says:

    Interesting kebari. 12 of thirteen kebari were white or an off-white color. Only 1 red fly. Most also did not appear to be reverse hackle.

  14. Zack says:

    I love the shops in Japan! Not just fishing but all of them they are so interesting! Thanks for taking the time to make the video super cool of you to share that!

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