Your online guide to exploring Japan's hidden and lesser-known wonders!

Immersing in the Traditional Fishing Culture of Hokkaido

Exploring the Rich Fishing Heritage of Hokkaido

Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, is renowned for its rich natural resources, pristine landscapes and unique culture. One of the region’s key industries is fishing, which has been a way of life for the local people for centuries. Hokkaido’s long coastline, cold waters and diverse marine life offer excellent opportunities for fishing and seafood production, making it a major contributor to Japan’s economy.

The Techniques and Practices of Traditional Hokkaido Fishing

The fishermen of Hokkaido have developed many unique techniques and practices that have been passed down from generation to generation. One of the most popular fishing methods involves using nets to trap salmon, trout, and other species in the rivers and estuaries that flow into the sea. Another traditional technique is line fishing, where the fishermen use baited hooks to catch fish in the deep waters. Another traditional practice that has been preserved in Hokkaido’s fishing culture is the use of wooden boats. These handcrafted vessels, known as isho, were traditionally used by the fishermen to navigate the waters of the region. Today, these boats are still used in some areas for tourism activities, providing visitors with an authentic experience of the local fishing culture.

Experiencing the Local Fishing Culture of Hokkaido

To fully immerse in the traditional fishing culture of Hokkaido, visitors can participate in various activities such as guided fishing tours, seafood cooking classes, and visits to local fish markets. In the city of Hakodate, for example, visitors can witness the famous ‘squid dance,’ which involves catching live squid in the sea and preparing them for consumption right on the boat. The town of Yoichi, located along the coast of Hokkaido, is also known for its fishing heritage and offers visitors a chance to experience traditional fishing techniques firsthand. Visitors can try their hand at catching fish using traditional lines and nets and learn about the history of fishing in the region at the nearby Yoichi Fisheries Museum.


Hokkaido’s fishing culture is a testament to the region’s rich history and natural resources, as well as the skills and knowledge of the local people. Experiencing the traditional fishing techniques and practices of Hokkaido is an excellent way to gain insight into the unique lifestyle and heritage of this northern island, and to appreciate the importance of fishing as a cultural and economic activity.
Artisan Crafts