Ayu Sweetfish Festival
Last Sunday on August 13th, Hino City held the annual Ayu Sweetfish Festival on the banks of the Asakawa River. The festival itself is a relatively new addition to Hino’s calendar, as this is only its second year running after a resounding turnout last summer. The event started as a way for locals to learn about and appreciate Hino’s rivers and the rich natural environment they support. While the locals who attended last year had a bit of idea of what to expect going in, I think the festival had something new and exciting for everyone.
One of the highlights of the festival was of course the star of the show itself – the ayu. The ayu, a type of smelt also sometimes called the “sweetfish,” is a popular menu item in Japan and has been for a good long time due to its sweet flavor. Throughout the day, the city grilled and gave out 3,000 whole ayu free of charge for lucky guests to enjoy. If you’ve never tried ayu before or, if like me, you’ve never eaten a whole fish before, this is definitely an opportunity you can’t miss!
True to its roots as an environmental awareness project, there were several booths situated around the event where you could learn about Hino’s rivers and ecosystem. Among them was even a tent-turned-aquarium full of tanks showcasing the city’s local fish! On top of the aquarium and educational tents, there were also a number of hands-on events for children to experience traditional fishing techniques, including everything from “fishing” in kiddie pools to working together with an instructor in the Asakawa River itself.
All in all, the Ayu Sweetfish Festival is a great way for a family to spend a day out in the great outdoors with their community. As someone who grew up by the ocean, I can definitely understand how important (and fun!) it is for children to learn about the environment and all the critters around them. The festival has been officially registered as part of the Tokyo 2020 Nationwide Participation Programme, so I’m definitely excited to see how this new event will grow and evolve from here on out!
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Industry and Sports Department, City Promotion Division
Phone (Direct Line): 042-514-8098
Phone (City Hall): 042-585-1111
Address: Hino City Hall, 3th Floor
1-12-1 Shinmei, Hino, Tokyo 191-8686
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