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> > Fly fishing in Japan

WillyJuly 1st, 2015, 11:57 am
Chicago, IL

Posts: 47
On Sunday I'm leaving for Japan with my wife and another couple for two weeks. We'll be traveling with a tour company, so our itinerary is pretty much set, but I'm hoping to sneak away for at least a few hours to try to catch one of Japan's native salmonids. It doesn't sound like this is going to be easy, so I'm looking for any advice I can get.

So far I've learned a few things...

1. There is almost no English language information available on the topic.

2. Tenkara isn't considered fly fishing in Japan. You won't find any Tenkara gear in a fly shop.

3. Licensing is done on a stream by stream basis.

That's about it. Our itinerary is Osaka --> Kyoto --> Ishikawaka --> Takayama --> Hakone --> Tokyo

Based on scheduling and what little information I've been able to find, it seems like my best bet might be fishing while we're in Takayama (there's a Tenkara fly named after the city). I have no idea which species live where, and I can't find much on that even.

I'm debating whether to bring a rod or to try to buy a cheap Tenkara outfit while I'm there. Given my limited packing space, I think the latter might be the best option.

I'm guessing that this probably won't work out, but I'm going to try. If any of you know anything about catching trout/char/salmon in Japan, I'd love to hear what you know.
Check out my fishing pictures on Instagram.
WbranchJuly 1st, 2015, 3:56 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2722
I found this neat web site with great pictures of some very pretty trout. I Googled "Trout in Japan" and got a bunch of items you could review.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
CaseyPJuly 2nd, 2015, 4:57 pm
Arlington, VA/ Mercersburg, PA

Posts: 653
and don't forget your tour guide! some of them are delighted to help someone with an out-of-the-ordinary request. If you're part of a 50-person group bussing from standard sight to standard sight, never mind, but my experience of asking guides of smaller groups for something special has usually been positive.

and this is not to knock the If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium style of touring! sometimes that's the best way to see and do what you want to!
"You can observe a lot by watching." Yogi Berra
EntomanJuly 3rd, 2015, 2:26 am
Northern CA & ID

Posts: 2604
Hey Willy,

Go to TenkaraUSA's website. The owner has done some extensive reports on the streams of Japan with some elegant video.
"It's not that I find fishing so important, it's just that I find all other endeavors of Man equally unimportant... And not nearly as much fun!" Robert Traver, Anatomy of a Fisherman
WbranchJuly 3rd, 2015, 7:17 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2722
Check out this really neat Japanese web site - it is in English and if you scroll down towards the bottom it lists dozens of Japanese trout streams with pictures.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
WillyJuly 4th, 2015, 5:29 pm
Chicago, IL

Posts: 47
CaseyP - That's the first thing I'm going to do when we get to Japan. Luckily the woman in the couple that we are traveling with works for the company, so we've already been making some out of the ordinary requests for help with additional activities.

Entoman - Good stuff. I'm digging through it now.

Wbranch - This is one of the best links I've seen so far. Finding info on locations has been the hardest, and this answers some major questions I had.

Thanks everyone! Leaving tomorrow. Will report back.
Check out my fishing pictures on Instagram.
MasuNovember 10th, 2015, 11:44 pm
Los Angeles, soon to be Japan

Posts: 1
Hey Willy,

Did you wind up fishing in Japan at all? I totally understand the lack of information for fly fishing in Japan. I'm actually in the process of researching this right now. There is ONE guide Mike Caennis who is an English-speaking guide (google search) that does the Nagano area. Fairly close from Tokyo.

There are actually some incredible fishermen who do overnight fishing trips, unfortunately most don't speak English, neither are there guiding services industry like the U.S. Here's an example. They go to the most remote locations, camp, and eat the Iwana they catch. along with some edible mountain vegetables.
FallfishTenJanuary 3rd, 2016, 7:13 am

Posts: 2
I hope you had a great trip Willy. Did you end up posting a trip report?

I myself have been living in Japan for over a year and have spent many many days stalking Amago, Iwana, and Yamame in the keiryu and genryu of Japan. Much info can be found at my website and I am happy to help folks with any questions related to fishing in Japan.

Japan is a marvelous country, the landscapes are breathtaking, and the fishing is very exciting. I think that every angler should visit and spend some time in the mountains of Japan, once you do you'll never want to leave!
Aki Sakana Oni
Fallfish Tenkara
WillyJuly 21st, 2016, 6:16 pm
Chicago, IL

Posts: 47
I finally did a write up of my trip. You can find it here: A Honeymoon with Friends, a Taxi with the Meter Running, and my Search for Japanese Trout
Check out my fishing pictures on Instagram.
TroutnutJuly 21st, 2016, 8:03 pm
Bellevue, WA

Posts: 2723
Great write-up and pictures, Willy!
Jason Neuswanger, Ph.D.
Troutnut and salmonid ecologist
CARiDAugust 10th, 2016, 8:07 am
Posts: 1Great post! It's always interesting to find out about fishing culture in other places of the world. If you need any fishing gear, check out

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