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Three sumo wrestlers standing in the ring, with formal aprons.
Sports Year
  1. Two National Soccer Tournaments
  2. Ekiden Road Race
  3. Rugby Football Games in Winter
  4. Skiing and Skating
  5. Sumo
  6. Midwinter Training and Traditional Martial Arts
  7. J League Soccer
  8. Mountain-opening and Beach-opening
  9. Fishing
  10. Motor Sports
  11. High School Baseball
  12. National Sports Festival
  13. Japan Baseball Series
  14. Viewing Autumn Leaves and Hiking
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Ayu fishers use long poles as they stand in shallow streams.
Ayu fishers use long poles as they stand in shallow streams.
Photo Courtesy of and Copyright Mike Chachich.
Japan is surrounded by the sea. It also has many rivers. So fishing is a very popular hobby throughout the country. From early summer, fishing for sweet smelt, or ayu, attracts many Japanese fishermen. Fishermen can be seen holding fishing rods and watching for ayu at rivers all over the country. This is one of the events of early summer in Japan. Ayu lay their eggs in the lower course of a river in late fall, and then the hatched ayu swim down to the ocean. They stay in the ocean and then come back to the river as young adults the following spring. They continue to mature in the river throughout the spring and summer. After they spawn in fall, they die. Amateur fishermen fish for ayu with a live ayu decoy in the early summer. This type of fishing, called tomozuri, challenges amateur fishermen, because it is quite difficult. Because of their value, popularity, and scarcity, ayu fishing is controlled by local fishery guilds in most rivers. Amateur fishermen have to pay a fishing fee to the guild. Many guilds release farm-raised ayu into rivers to attract amateur ayu fishermen.
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