If you move to Japan, you’ll eventually become used to different sights like police cars with their lights flashing but not turning on their sirens, moms riding bicycles while precariously balancing kids and groceries at the same time, and also people fishing in practically any open body of water. Even in Tokyo, you’ll find a variety of anglers testing the waters around the rivers and Tokyo Bay. There’s way too much to cover everything about catching your own dinner in Japan, but here’s a basic primer to understanding (and even starting) fishing in Tokyo.
No license, no problem!
The only fishing licenses in Japan are for commercial fishing operations.
On top of that, there are no permits necessary for individual fishing in saltwater.
Fishing in freshwater is regulated by the local fishing clubs. Some will require permits and some won’t, so the best practice is to find the local fishing club (釣り場, tsurijyo) and inquire.
Other rules for fishing will vary from area to area. In some popular areas along Tokyo Bay it’s prohibited to use krill chum to attract fish. Lures and bait casting can also be prohibited depending on the local rules. Always check posted information or ask around for the most current and accurate information.
Where to get started in Tokyo?
The easiest way to get a little bit of angling excitement in Tokyo is to visit some of the stocked waters.
- Benkei Fishing Club – Chiyoda Ward
- Ichigaya Fish Center – Shinjuku Ward
- Shinagawa Fishing Garden – Minato Ward
- Super Fishing Adachi – Adachi Ward
- Musashinoen – Suginami Ward
This is just a handful of the various fishing spots where you can rent equipment and maybe even clean your catches on site. This makes for a straightforward fishing experience that accommodates novice anglers very well.
Testing the waters
If you’re looking to test your skills out in open water, there are a lot of options around Tokyo. You’ll have to provide your own equipment if you’re heading out to these areas since there won’t be any dedicated fishing center at these locations. Chances are if you’ve walked by these parks before you’ve probably seen at least a few fishers along the water.
You’ll have to do your due diligence in researching the particular areas for info on parking, facilities, and whatnot. In general, since the spots listed here are in/near parks, there should be bathrooms and vending machines nearby.
Fishing can be a relaxing way to pass the time, and it can be a fun way to connect with the city of Tokyo! Tokyoites have been fishing the waters around the city since before the city was even named Tokyo! Known then as Edo, the city started as a humble fishing village in 1457 only to grow to the largest metropolitan area in the world (now Tokyo)!
Lead photo: A man fishes at Mizumoto Park while a feathered friend waits patiently for any scraps. Photo: Scott Kouchi