East Namekawa Seaside Green Park and Gumi Island (東滑川海浜緑地公園とグミ島)

You can enjoy a glorious sea view with Gumi Island from the East Namekawa Seaside Green Park in Hitachi City in Ibaraki Prefecture. This park was reopened in July in 2019. There is playground equipment in the grassy field and children can also enjoy grass sledding.

Sometimes you can see Temminck’s cormorants resting their wings at a rocky area on Gumi Island. Temminck’s cormorants are migratory birds. They go to Hokkaido for breeding between April and Jun. And they head south to the Pacific side of Japan for passing the winter between October and December. It is said that the seaside of Hitachi city is a resting place on the journey for cormorants.

Hitachi city is the only place where cormorants are captured in Japan. About forty cormorants are captured every year at Unomisaki in the north part of Hitachi city. And they are sent to some places in which “Ukai”, cormorant fishing, is conducted. And that supports the Cormorant fishing culture in Japan.

“Ukai” is a fishing method used to catch ayu (sweetfish) by using a cormorant. It is conducted in eleven places in Japan, for example, in the Nagara River in Gifu Prefecture, in the Kiso River in Aichi Prefecture, and in the Uji River in Kyoto Prefecture, and so on. It is a traditional fishing method with a history of 1,300 years.

I went there at the end of June and there was a little sprinkle of rain. Unfortunately I couldn’t see any cormorants. For reference, I post a photo of cormorants which I found on line though I don’t know where it was taken.