A Delicacy Fit for the Imperial House
The ayu sweet fish, sometimes called the “Queen of Clear Waters,” is a river fish that is the pride and joy of Gifu Prefecture. The yield of ayu from the Nagara River is the greatest across the country, where fixtures of slatted wood called yana are constructed in many spots along the river from late spring to early autumn. At these yana, visitors can try catching natural ayu with their bare hands and experience ayu cuisine. More than yana, however, the Nagara River is perhaps best known for cormorant fishing, which is a longstanding tradition that boasts a storied, 1,300-year history. Since long ago, the fish caught along the upper reaches of the Nagara River have been known for their superb taste and shape, and are annually given up as offerings to the Imperial House. In 2007, these ayu were branded “Gujo Ayu” and are highly regarded for their top-class quality. In 2008, it was awarded the grand prize in an annual competition to determine the country’s best-tasting ayu.