Hello and welcome to the Usho-Iwasa Fish Restaurant. Our restaurant is a river specialty restaurant run by “Usho”. Usho inherits the Japanese traditional culture “Ukai”, which is handed down through generations of our ancestors. The tradition is specialize in using birds, namely “cormorant” or “Usho” birds to catch the fish.
The type of fish we specialize is called “Ayu” or “sweetfish” and also known as the “Queen of the River” in Japan and there are two types of ayu; natural ayu and cultured ayu. We specialize mainly on natural ayu in our restaurant, which is a course style meal.
Natural ayu growing in the wild eats algae that grows on the rocks and stones in the river. Cultured ayu is grown in “farms” and fed by the fisherman.
The aroma of the fish is intoxicating and taste is fulfilling.
This difference is clearly noticeable when eaten compared to cultured ayu. Also, natural ayu is sold as a high-end fish in the local fish market.
After meals, you can see “Ukai” on a houseboat.
Price of a course meal : 7200 yen
Ukai is a traditional Japanese fishing method using birds called “cormorants”. This method has been used since the 1300’s.
At sunset, when the movement of the fish slowed down, the two boatmen operated a wooden “un boat”, and at the tip of the boat bonfire torch is lit so that the cormorants could find the fish.
In the past, cormorants were used to catch many fish and sold to the local fish markets. Cormorants were handled by the boatmen to retrieve the bird and fish.
At present, we are keeping that vibrant traditional fishing method, more as sightseeing.
So when experiencing you’ll see the flaming floats on the surface in the darkness, the reins handling the cormorants by the cormorant boatmen, the skill of the boatman themselves maneuvers the cormorant boats, and the cormorant fishing on the river flow are both artistic and nostalgic.
When you come to Japan, please enjoy the delicious taste of “natural ayu” at our restaurant and get a real life experience of cormorant fishing that can only be experienced here at the Iwasa Cormorant Fish Restaurant.