Article by Satsuki Tanaka
In Japan, we usually fish in the middle area of the river, where we can usually fish immediately after getting out of the car.
However, as a recent trend, it is popular to climb mountains and enter the headwaters of the river to do tenkara fishing. It is called “genryu tenkara”. Many people in Japan are beginning to enjoy genryu tenkara.
The attraction is, after all, the extraordinary feeling that no one has set foot where you are fishing. There are steep mountains, there is snow even in the summer, and there are strong signs of animals.
And we can catch the char, which is the target of tenkara.
Challenge, tiredness, achievement, sense of unity with nature, there are various emotions, but when you look at it in total, it will be a very satisfying trip. This time, I will tell you about the situation with photos.
First, we walk deep into the mountains.
We continue to climb.
We finally come down to the river. But we haven’t fished yet. Instead, we continue to climb the river.
After climbing a lot, we finally start tenkara.
A surprising number of chars welcome us, and all of the fish are beautiful.
We climb the waterfall while fishing.
Cross the river.
Usually, there are too few fish in Japan, so catch and release is the premise of fishing. We rarely bring back fish. However, during genryu tenkara we often bring back a few fish to eat after returning to the campsite. Cook with sashimi, grilled salt, meuniere, soup, and wild plants from the mountains that day.
One of the attractions of genryu tenkara is that life in the mountains is closely related to tenkara.
Finally, all the participating members went down the mountain and had a coffee time at the cafe.
The mountains are great for us, but the peace of mind when we come down to the area where there are people is irresistible.
Satsuki Tanaka is a Japanese outdoors enthusiast with interests in bouldering, alpine climbing, yachting, backcountry exploration, woodworking, and of course tenkara. Through his work with the ClearWater Project, he is championing catch & release fishing on the Dando River, as well as maintaining a fishing ticketing agency and associated magazine website that promotes all types of fishing in mountain streams. His YouTube channel Tenkara From Japan features instructional tenkara videos ranging from novice to advanced.
This article originally appeared in the Winter 2021-22 issue of Tenkara Angler magazine.
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