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Ukai cormorants on leads fishing from a boat on the Uji River in Japan

As night falls, a group of cormorants fish on the Uji River. They duck and dive, hungrily hunting for succulent sweetfish. A flaming basket of fire attracts the unwary fish and lights the scene just enough for the spectators to enjoy the action. Should one of the birds strike lucky, it is quickly pulled back into the boat where the master fisherwoman deftly extracts the fish from its jaws.

Cormorant fishing is an ancient art that you can only see in a few places in Japan. In Uji, ukai (cormorant fishing) takes place every evening from July to September. Join a boat of spectators to get a close-up view of the spectacle.