In Gifu Prefecture, the Maze River is famous for its natural beauty and high-quality freshwater filled with ayu (local sweetfish). Surrounded by mountains and the emerald river running through the local town makes it a wonderful hidden gem. The locals are proud of the sweetfish from the area, caught using a traditional hiburi fishing technique. The ayu here are known for their delicious flavor and distinct aroma. It’s sweet and said to smell like watermelon!
In this quaint town, you will enjoy an elaborate dining experience focused on ayu. Enjoy a banquet of 8 dishes that highlight different elements of the sweetfish. By using local ingredients, this banquet makes for the perfect introduction to this river delicacy which the region is famous for.
Once you have finished your meal, you will stroll down to the riverside, where you will find the local museum that is all about ayu. You will learn in-depth about the history of the region and its ayu, as well as the unique fishing technique of hiburi fishing. This is a pyrotechnic or fire style of fishing, where fishermen use fire torches to corral the fish into their nets.
To see for yourself how this works in action, you will see a performance of hiburi fishing. Mature ayu come to lay eggs at night, which is the perfect time to catch them. Watch as the fishermen whip fire torches over the river and shout to startle the fish into the nets! Through the darkness, the flashing of fire creates a stunning display, the blaze glittering as it reflects on the water’s surface. Once the demonstration is over, you can help the fisherman gather the ayu from the nets. This hands-on experience helps locals keep the traditional hiburi fishing culture alive.
Ayu dining experience
Entry to the ayu fishing museum
Ayu fire fishing "hiburi" demonstration
Transportation to and from the town
Meeting Point and Meeting Time
1508-1 Mazenishimura, Gero, Gifu 509-2202
Please wear comfortable shoes because there will be walking involved.