Grilling the fish

Uono River Ayu Festival

A festival dedicated to the local river's specialty

By Kim B    - 1 min read
Venue: Sakato Bridge Riverbank, Muikamachi When: Late Aug 2021

The Uono River in Niigata is a tributary of the Shinano River - Japan's longest and widest river - and is also a popular spot for fishing. One of the most prolific catches here is ayu, or sweet fish, which you will often see at festival events across Japan. The fish are skewered, salted and grilled, and are regularly deemed as one of the country's tastiest fish when served this way.

The Uono River Ayu Festival is a chance to enjoy these fish alongside a few mugs of ice-cold beer - the perfect antidote to the heat and humidity of the Japanese summer months. Even if you're not a fan of fish or beer, the event has a host of other festival food to enjoy and games for children to partake in.

Getting there

The Uono River Sweetfish Festival is held on the Uono riverbank by the Sakato Bridge in Muikamachi. The bridge is approximately a ten minute walk from JR Muikamachi Station.

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Kim B

Kim B @kim.b

I'm an Australian who has lived abroad for almost a decade, including 7 years in Japan - specifically Tokyo and Niigata. I've  visited 44 of 47 prefectures, with only Kagoshima, Miyazaki and Kumamoto left to check out. I'm particularly fond of exploring off the beaten path destinations, gardens, and tea houses, and have a real interest in Japan's growing vegan scene.

Join the discussion

Elena Lisina a year ago
I wonder how to eat this fish - together with head and bones?
Elena Lisina a year ago
I should try!!! :D
Sherilyn Siy a year ago
I think this is the one fish that looks worse than it actually tastes!
Kim B Author a year ago
I chuckled at this because I agree! Poor ayu - not the most photogenic little creatures haha!
Lynda Hogan a year ago
I must give it a try again. The last time, I have to admit, I wasn't that taken with it!!
Lynda Hogan a year ago
Haha! Kampai!
Lynda Hogan a year ago
I must give it a try again. The last time, I have to admit, I wasn't that taken with it!!
Elizabeth S a year ago
Grilled ayu and beer is summer in Japan.
Kim B Author a year ago
It definitely evokes those feelings!