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Inuyama Castle and Cormorant Fishing (Ukai)

 Originally built in 1537, the Inuyama Castle is located in the city of Inuyama of the Aichi Prefecture, overlooking the Kiso River.  A national treasure, it is one of the only twelve original castles that have survived multiple natural disasters and wars since the Feudal Age.  The group climbed many steep steps, witnessing a magnificent view of the surrounding countryside with a detailed history by our knowledgeable tour guide.
 Cormorant Fishing (Ukai) is a traditional fishing method which uses trained cormorants to catch sweetfish (known here as ayu).  This practice has been around for over a thousand years, and is prominent around the Nagara River in Gifu City and Seki City, where the master fishermen have official patronage from the Emperor.
 Before moving along, we all had a Bento Box dinner in a small boat. This was followed by sparklers, with the group going out in boats as they watched the fisherman and their birds catch fish.

Shirakawago World Heritage Site
 Shirakawago Village was built in a Gassho farmhouse style, and is one of the UNESCO World Heritage sites. Some houses are more than 250 years old. Gassho-zukuri means “constructed like hands in prayers”, as the farmhouses’ steep-thatched roofs resemble the hands of Buddhist monks pressing together in prayer. Surprisingly, these houses were built without using a single nail in its foundation. The people at that time, in addition to growing rice, they grew silk worms. 


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