The Nagara River which possesses an abundance of resources supports the people's daily lives as well as nurtures living creatures.
Literally, the word satokawa means sato, referring to a settlement of human activity, and kawa, meaning river. Thus the satokawa is not a river that is preserved in an untouched natural environment, but conserved through the proper management.
The Nagara River is considered one of Japan’s three clearest rivers.
The river flows throughout the 166 kilometers stretch from the mountainous area of the northern Gifu to the southern region, and enters Ise Bay. It supports a population of 860,000 on its basin and despite flowing through urban areas boasts bountiful and pristine waters. “The Nagara River System” which links the aquatic environment, fisheries resources and daily lives of the people is highly regarded internationally.
On the Nagara River, inland fishing focusing mainly on ayu has been thriving.“Ukai” or cormorant fishing which is popular among tourists is one of the methods of ayu fishing.
Ayu used for sushi and ayu-shaped confectionary represent the local cuisine of Gifu.
The Nagara River conserves biodiversity and is home to variety of species including the ayu as well as the satsukimasu salmon and the mitten crab which swim upstream from the Pacific Ocean, and special natural treasure of the Japanese giant salamander and natural treasure of the bagrid catfish.
On the Nagara River, various traditional fishing methods have been passed down such as shoal net fishing and night net fishing as well as cormorant fishing which boasts 1,300 years of history.
Traditional crafts such as Japanese Washi paper and dyeing have been developed leveraging the water of the Nagara River.
The River has contributed to the economic development through connecting forests,
villages and the sea to itself for waterways since ancient time.
The environments and landscapes of satokawa are conserved by the local people, who are committed to using the water without polluting or wasting it.
River and forest conservation is the key to maintaining the abundance of the Nagara River for future generations.
This “Specialties of the Nagara River” Policy was created in order to leverage GIAHS recognition to the advantage of regional development through the promotion of local specialties including wild ayu, products of ayu, agriculture and forestry, traditional crafts, as well as related goods around the Nagara River basin which help to promote, conserve and hand down the “Ayu of the Nagara River System”.