Destination: Japan – travel and fishing

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September 3, 2015

Japan has many appeals to the traveler. Its forests are verdant and the streams clear. The culture is so different from anywhere else in the world. The food is incredible. And, well, it is the land of tenkara. Many people plan to visit Japan for various reasons, but the idea of catching Japan’s native trout also makes the traveller want to add fishing in their plans. In this episode Daniel shares his experiences traveling to Japan for the food, the hot-springs and for tenkara fishing of course.

Other info about fishing in Japan and finding guides:
We often get asked about guides in Japan and how someone can find one while visiting. Unfortunately mainland Japan doesn’t have a strong guiding culture. While there are a few fishing guides, they are few and far between in the main parts of Japan. We currently do not know fishing guides in Japan who speak English. Pretty much all our contacts practice tenkara for fun, not as a job.
If you’re interested in finding someone to guide you, there are a couple of ways we recommend:
In terms of guides who speak English The two main resources we point people to are in Gifu prefecture:
Near the town of Takayama is our friend Jun Kumazaki, he recently started the 216 Guide Service specializing in outdoor adventures. They do not specialize in fishing, but can show you around, help with fishing licenses and they fish some as well but are not considered fishing guides or instructors. Jun is a fun guide to hang out with and very resourceful.
Another option is to contact the Mazegawa Fishing Center, in the town of Maze (near Gero). They are not a guides service but may be able to work with you to arrange for a guide and they often have people who speak English and Japanese in their staff so they are worth reaching out to. It’s a beautiful area, and where I spent most of my time in Japan and have written a lot about. If you search for “Maze” on the upper left search bar on this site you’ll find blog posts about it.
And last, but not least, we often recommend trying to connect with people in Japan via social media, especially the Tenkara Anglers group on Facebook. You may get someone who is free and willing to take you out for a bit. Keep in mind Japanese etiquette if you connect with someone. Most people in Japan are super kind and generous with their time, but be respectful of their time. It’s also customary to bring a very nice gift if someone is taking you fishing.
And finally, as mentioned in this episode, please take a look at this resource we have put together for one of our magazines:
Download this PDF excerpt from the 2015 Tenkara Magazine for a good reference on traveling and fishing in Japan.

Referenced in the episode:
Adam Trahan’s comprehensive Japan trip planning and diary
Daniel Galhardo’s blog posts on his visits to Japan and Japan related material
Fish of Japan:
Amago trout in Japan



Sign indicating where to get a fishing license. On the left side, the second character from top to bottom is related to fish/fishing. If you see that one in a mountain village there is a good chance you can get a fishing license there. Learn how to recognize: 
Fishing license japan

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