Traditional Japanese Fly Tenkara 3
amago mark
There are flies I got at various places or tied by myself.
It is interesting that tenkara fly has local color.


Okushinano Uonogawa upper area Okushinano Akiyamago area Okushinano Zakogawa area Joshu Tsumagoi area Higashishinano Yodagawa area Higashishinano Ueda area Nishijoshu Okutano area Mutsu Morioka area Mutsu Morioka area Zaou Togatta area Asahi mountain range Arakawa area Oze area Nikko area Maenikko Ashio area Okushinano Zakogawa area Joshu Tsumagoi area Higashishinano Ueda area Nishijoshu Okutano area Koshu Kuromori area Okutama Taba area
Image Map of Tenkara Kebari 3


Morioka-kebari 1 Morioka-kebari 2 Morioka-kebari 3 Morioka-kebari 4
Morioka-kebari 5

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Mutsu Morioka area
Traditional flies in Morioka Iwate prefecture. Now, we can get those flies as traditional craft work that is kept by craftsmen. Those flies are like Tenkara but the rig is unique. It is generally used 5.4m (18ft.) rod. It has line and leader as long as rod, float that is made of angelica tree at the tip of the leader, fly that has 40cm (16in.) tippet in front of the float. And four flies that has very short tippet are tied at intervals of 30 or 40cm (12-16in.) above the float. After casting to the other side, it float flies down a river with line tight. It is called "Nagashi-tsuri". The flies of upper row were tied by Mr. Zenji Sakurai. The flies of lower row are Mr. Yuzo Yanagimura's kebari that were published in "Fishing Cafe vol. 23". These are flies that I reproduced. The hook called "Kukinaga 8 ban (Long stem No. 8)" that has total length of 1.5 cm, and kirby point has been used. But we cannot get the hook currently because there are no craftsmen to be able to make it. So I have twisted and used Maru-kaizu No. 8 of MARUTO very similar in form. (References: Murata, Shou. "Nanbu no Tsuri Morioka Kebari (Fishing in southern part Morioka Kebari)". Yukyo Iwate no Tsuri (Quiet place Fishing of Iwate). Tokyo, Yama-kei Publishers, 1988. Suzuno, Fujio. Yama Ryou (Mountain fishing). Tokyo, Rural Culture Association Japan, 1993. Murata, Hisashi. "Morioka Kebari". Fishing Cafe. Vol. 23. Osaka, Shimano Inc., 2006.)


Togatta-kebari Skin of stalk Togatta-kebari In the middle of tying Togatta-kebari Upside
Togatta-kebari side Togatta-kebari side
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Zaou Togatta area
This is "Togatta fly" that Hunter of the south Zaou hot spring village has handed down. The skin of the stalk when pheasant and copper pheasant's rectrixes are picked off is used as wing. And it is tied to the hook for sea perch fishing with a golden yellow silk thread trebl places. It seems to look like the fishing of fluttering caddis of flyfishing. This is unparalleled fly invented by the environment of the Sumikawa River where a lot of caddisflies (Stenopsyche japonica) live, and fisherman's wisdoms. It is said that the person who is able to make this fly became very few, too now. The fly of image was tied by myself referring to a detailed introduction of web page "Fu-un western style flyfisher notebook". (References: Yoshio's road that came at one time Miyagi T.V. Access 2006. Fu-un western style flyfisher notebook. Access 2008.)


Arakawa Kebari with a shot sinker Arakawa Kebari

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Asahi mountain range Arakawa area
The Asahi mountain range is a mountainous region in the prefectural boundary of Yamagata Pref. and Niigata Pref. Arakawa River has the source in Mt. Oasahidake(1,870m) of the main peak. Until middle of the 1960's, Mr. Kenji Sato in Higura and Mr. Unkichi Saito in Tokuami caught fish at there as commercial fishers. Mr. Sato's fishing was the fishing method that was handed down from his grandfather's day. The hook was Kitsune-gata No.12. The body was tied by rooster copper pheasant's tail, peacock herl and silk thread. And rooster copper pheasant's tail was tied in a mass like wing. The Kebari has the one that the shot sinker was attached to the hook bend and the one that not is it. Of each were used as the kebari that fish the middle or bottom and the surface. The rod length was 3.6m. The line was 3m of horse tail furled tapered line. The tippet was No. 1.5 - 2.0 (3X -2X) 1.5m. This is like to the kebari of Zenichi Koike in Okumiomote. It is written that it seem to have been some connections between the two. That view is persuasive in geographical features etc. These are Kebaris (flies) that I reproduced. (References: Suzuno, Fujio. Yama Ryou (Mountain fishing). Tokyo, Rural Culture Association Japan, 1993.)


Oze Kebari 1 Oze Kebari 2 Oze Kebari 3
Oze Kebari 4 Oze Kebari 4
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Oze area
Flies of Mr. Kosaku Hirano. Oze is the basin of highlands across three prefectures of Fukushima Prefecture, Niigata Prefecture, and Gunma Prefecture and is the headstream area in the maximum branch Tadamigawa river in Aganogawa river waterway. To serve it to the guest at the mountain lodge "Hiuchi-goya" of Ozegahara that his father-in-law had built, Mr. Kosaku Hirano were doing the iwana fishing. Oze was specified before long to the special natural treasure. They refrained from it after all though they were permitted to fish there. The hook was Kitsune-gata. The hackle was whitish rooster. The body was tied by silk thread or peacock herl. The eye was not attached. The rod length was 4.5m. The tippet was 30cm or so. These are flies that I reproduced. (References: Shimura, Shunji (ed.). Iwana Ⅲ Sequel Commercial Fisherman in Headstream. Tokyo, Hakujitsusha, 1990.)


Tenkara Nikko 1 Tenkara Nikko 1 Tenkara Nikko 2 Tenkara Nikko 3
Tenkara Nikko 4 Tenkara Nikko 5 Tenkara Nikko 6
Tenkara Nikko 8 Tenkara Nikko 8
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Nikko area
Nikko flies (Gorocho flies) were modeled after Gorocho (Stenopsyche japonica) because many Gorocho lived in Yugawa river of Nikko. These were ordered to Hardy by someone of diplomats or Tokyo Angling club's members that they had enjoyed trout fishing in Yugawa river and Marunuma lake in the beginning of Showa era or the late Meiji era. These flies were registered to Hardy and records remain even now. These have hackle of Japanese hen pheasant's breast feather, body of cotton of flowering fern. In the book "Trout fishing" of Hiroki Meguro, Nikko flies are shown from No.1 to No.8. But the details cannot be understood because illustrations are indistinct and it is primitive. Especially, Nikko No.7 looks like a type with wings, but the difference between No.2 and No.7 is unclear. (References: Meguro, Hiroki. Masu-tsuri (Trout fishing). Tokyo, Sugiyama publishing, 1935, Reprint Ateneshobo, 1979. Saionji, Kinkazu. Tsuri Rokujunen (Fishing 60 years). Tokyo, Futami Shobo Publishing, 1974. Nyumon Nihon no Fly fishing (Introduction Fly fishing in Japan) Extra issue Fishing. No. 22. Tokyo, Sanpou Publishing, 1981.)

When I was reading the old fishing magazine "Angling No.15" that I was keeping, I found being written as "Gorocho seems to be Gomafutobikera (Semblis melaleuca)" in "The search of Gorocho from documents" by Mr. Kazuya Tada. When I looked over the document that he was referred to, surely "Suicide of Rainbow trout" by Mr. Reika Sawa of "Yamakai no Tsuri (Fishing in the valley)" had a word of a "Gomafutobikera". Although I was believing until now that Gorocho is Higenagakawatobikera (Stenopsyche japonica), Since a name called Gomafutobikera came out, I have thought that Gorocho may be not the name which shows a specific kind and it may be a general term for the large-sized caddis fly which looks whitish when it flies. (References: Angling. No. 15. Tokyo, Kosaido Publishing, 1986. Sawa, Reika; Kurosawa, Sakae; Suzuki, Gyoshin. Yamakahi no Tsuri (Fishing in the valley). Shunyodo Publishing, 1941. - September 05, 2012)


Kingoma 1 Gingoma Gingoma 2 Nikko 9

Nikko area
Besides Gorocho flies, there are Nikko flies that were tied by Japanese bantam hackle (There is also document written to be Gamecock hackle.) and water shrew fur. They are called "Kingoma" and "Gingoma". Japanese bantam was specified for the natural monument in 1941. And the persons who captures water shrew (It is specified for the Ministry of the Environment red list in Kyushu region.) has decreased. All became hard-to-find materials now. Left 2 flies are tied by water shrew fur and by substitut -ing golden badger hackle or silver badger hackle. The third fly from the left is tied by water shrew fur that mixed cotton of flowering fern and by substituting grizzly hackle. Flies that were tied by the water shrew fur are attractive for the fishers to say nothing of the trout because the bubble taken between a beautiful, smooth furs reflects the light and they seem to shine to the silver color in the water. In the book "Trout fishing" of Hiroki Meguro, there is a line with "Besides Gorocho flies, Beat with Chong-Chong the water surface with fly that was tied by hackle of red-center, black-tip." Right fly is reproduction of it. (References: Meguro, Hiroki. Masu-tsuri (Trout fishing). Tokyo, Sugiyama publishing, 1935, Reprint Ateneshobo, 1979. Saionji, Kinkazu. Tsuri Rokujunen (Fishing 60 years). Tokyo, Futami Shobo Publishing, 1974. Nikko Trout Fishing Laboratory - Daiyagawa river Fishing capture site. Access 2010.)


Ashio Kebari 1 Ashio Kebari 2
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Maenikko Ashio area
We recall the matter of the poisoning of copper from the word "Ashio". When limiting it to Ashio, Watarasegawa river in the base of Bizentateyama and Koshingawa river at downstream of Ginzandaira were influenced by it. Matsukigawa river of the headstream went to ruin because of the collapse of Mae-Nikko mountain range that depends on the smoke pollution and the conflagration. Because plowing a field was the main agriculture in the mountainous area of steep slope, neither the cow nor the horse were needed for it. So fly fishing that do not use furled tapered line was devised by Mr. Kashiichi Yagisawa of Ashio Kakemizu. Copper wire was used from backing to finish to put weight to the fly because furled tapered line was not used. The hook was Sodegata No.11. The hackle was Nagoya cochin. The body was tied by cotton of flowering fern or peacock herl. The rod length was 3m. The line was 4.2m in total length, the nylon line No.2 (2X). These are flies that I reproduced. (References: Suzuno, Fujio. Yama Ryou (Mountain fishing). Tokyo, Rural Culture Association Japan, 1993.)


Uonogawa-kebari Uonogawa-kebari Diagonal side Uonogawa-kebari Upside

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Okushinano Uonogawa upper area
Once, many commercial fishermen fished in the upper part of Uonogawa River across the Hitotsuishi peak (1825m) from Kunimura village (Nakanojo-machi Azuma-gun now.), and delivered iwana to Kusatsu Hot Spring. Ms. Masami Otsuka's fly called last commercial fisherman here. He learned making fly and how to fish from his father Mr. Eisaku Otsuka and Mr. Kakuzo Yamasaki who played an active part to Taisho Era (1926) from Meiji Era (1868). The hook was eyed hook No.10 (Changed from the hook with tippet in 1965s.), the body was peacock herl, the hackle was coverts of Japanese Jay, and it had largish wings of coverts of Japanese Jay that was attached horizontally. It is rare fly of the spent pattern as used in the field of fly-fishing of Western style. To use the feather of Japanese Jay was direct teaching from Mr. Kakuzo, and it was used for the daytime of fine weather. In the evening, the fly that has the hackle of bantam or fowl, and the body of peacock herl was used properly. The rod length was 3m, the line was horse tail furled tapered line, the tippet was nylon No. 1. This is fly that I reproduced. (References: Tokado, Hideo. "Okushiga Shokuryoshiden". FRONT. Vol. 17. Tokyo, Foundation for Riverfront Improvement and Restoration, 2005. Tokado, Hideo. Shokuryoshiden (Lives of Commercial Fishermen). Tokyo, Rural Culture Association Japan, 2013.)


Akiyamago Shigeo Yamada's Kebari 1 Akiyamago Shigeo Yamada's Kebari 2 Akiyamago Shigeo Yamada's Kebari 3
Tenkara Akiyamago 2 Tenkara Akiyamago 1 Tenkara Akiyamago 6
Tenkara Akiyamago 3 Tenkara Akiyamago 3
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Okushinano Akiyamago area
These are traditional flies of Akiyamago village that is located on the border of Nagano and Niigata prefecture. These are very simple flies because those are made of two silk thread of yellow and black, the bantam hackle, the hook of kitsune No.8-10. And these do not use even head cement. The eye is made by two yellow silk thread that was twisted, and to keep the eye hole a paper string is inserted. The body is made by cutting the hackle. The upper row are flies of Mr. Shigeo Yamada, and he was a expert of kebari fishing and the last commercial fisherman of Akiyamago. The bodies are all black, the hackles are three kinds, black, whitish color and brown with black stem. They were chosen by the situation of streams. The rod length was 3m. Rig is made from 2m of furled tapered line of horse tail, 1m of No.2 (2X) nylon line and 1.5m of No.1 (4X) nylon line. The furled tapered line of horse tail is short so that the fly may not be pulled to this side by the weight of line. Shorter furled line of horse tail is almost the same as Mr. Takamori's rig of Zakogawa River. The left 2 of lower row are flies of Mr. Kenzo Hayashi who is continuing adhering to fishing by Akiyamago fly. The right 2 of lower row are flies that were arranged by the former storekeeper of fishing-tackle shop and the landlord (Mr. Shigeo Yamada's son) of a guesthouse "Yuzansou". These are introduced on the web page "Fu-un western style flyfisher notebook". As for all the hooks of lower row, Maru-seigo No.7-9 are used. These are all flies that I reproduced. (References: "Akiyamago no Shigeo ga kataru kebari no hanashi (Story of kebari which Shigeo of Akiyamago tells)". Fishing. September issue. Tokyo, Sanpou Publishing, 1978. Uesugi, Daichi. "Hayashi Kenzo no Akiyama Kebari". Tenkara club. Vol. 2. Tokyo, Kosaido Publishing, 2001. Fu-un western style flyfisher notebook. Access 2008.)


Zakogawa Kebari 1 Zakogawa Kebari 2 Zakogawa Kebari 3
Zakogawa Kebari 4 Zakogawa Kebari 4
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Okushinano Zakogawa area
Okushinano Zakogawa River joins Uonogawa River in the most secluded area Kiriake of Akiyamago. Mr. Sadajiro Takamori of Kijimadaira-mura Nakamura and Mr. Uhei Kizaki of Yamanouchi-cho Yomase did the fishery till around 1970. They were divideing fishing area of the downstream part, the upper part and Mansuigawa River each other at Shimizugoya hut of Shimizudaira as the starting point. And Mr. Shigeo Yamada was recommended to become commercial fisherman by Mr. Denji Takamori in around 1940. So Mr. Takamori and Mr. Yamada fished at Zakogawa River and Uonogawa River, respectively. (It is considered that Mr. Denji Takamori written to "fishing September issue" is Mr. Sadajiro Takamori, if it guesses from his fishing ground.) The right 2 are Mr.Takamori's flies that were roughly tied with the hackle of red-native fowl, the bodies were winded only with cotton thread of each color, and are made delicately. His rig was 3m rod, 2m of furled tapered horse tail line, 40cm of No.3 (0X), No.2 (2X) and No.1 (4X) nylon line, and 20cm of No.0.6 (6X) tippet. In pool, he set tippet to 1 m, attached a sinker to about 20cm position from fly, and sank fly. The small hook of No.7-8 of kitsune-gata was used for last, although the big hook of akita-sode No.11-12 was used till around 1944. Mr. Suzuno is guessed that since they went back and forth between their fishing area every day, stress was given to iwana and, iwana learned. The left 2 are flies of Mr. Yuzo Yamamoto who was a commercial fisherman from 1933 to 1955. And akitasode No.11-12 were used for the hook. These are all flies that I reproduced. (References: "Akiyamago no Shigeo ga kataru kebari no hanashi (Story of kebari which Shigeo of Akiyamago tells)". Fishing. September issue. Tokyo, Sanpou Publishing, 1978. Suzuno, Fujio. Yama Ryou (Mountain fishing). Tokyo, Rural Culture Association Japan, 1993. Tokado, Hideo. Tanigatari · Yamagatari (The talk of stream · the talk of mountain). Tokyo, Yama-kei Publishers, 1990. Yamamoto, Soseki (ed.). Tenkara Fishing Kebari-tsuri no Subete (All of Kebari fishing). Tokyo, Ikeda Publishing, 1989.)


Tsumagoi-kebari 1 Tsumagoi-kebari 2 Tsumagoi-kebari 3

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Joshu Tsumagoi area
The flies of commercial fishermen whose Azumagawa River in Tsumagoi was the fishing area. The left two are flies of Mr. Seizaburo Fukai who was commercial fisherman of two generations with his father Kyukichi Fukai. Although two persons excelled in fishing by bait, also did fishing by fly in the best season. The hook was sodegata No.8 (The latter half is kitsunegata.), the body was tied by peacock herl or yellow embroidery thread and bind silver color wire roughly, the hackle was saddle or spey of Nagoya cochin. It is said that this fly is used here still now. Since there are many streams that are covered with thicket, the rig is made shorter. This area had large consumer places of trout, such as Kusatsu Hot Spring and Kawarayu Hot Spring, and many commercial fishermen played an active part. From the left the third is fly of Mr. Tadayoshi Kurata. The hook is kitsunegata No.7, the body is tied by pheasant or peacock herl and bind silver copper wire roughly. These are flies that I reproduced. (References: Tokado, Hideo. Shokuryoshiden (Lives of Commercial Fishermen). Tokyo, Rural Culture Association Japan, 2013.)


Yodagawa Kebari Yodagawa Kebari

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Higashishinano Yodagawa area
Kebari that had been used around Yodagawa River of Nagano. Yodagawa River have a source to Wadatoge Pass on Nakasendo (Edo-period Edo-Kyoto highway), and gathers Wadagawa River, Omekuragawa River, Daimongawa River, and joins to Chikumagawa River at Ueda. It is a big stream. The hook was kaku-seigo of forged shank. The body was tied by nylon black thread or was tied by peacock herl. They were only two types. The hackle were bantam, fowl, pheasant, copper pheasant, etc. These are flies I reproduced. (References: Yamamoto, Soseki (ed.). Tenkara Fishing Kebari-tsuri no Subete (All of Kebari fishing). Tokyo, Ikeda Publishing, 1989.)


Kenbane-kebari 1 Kenbane-kebari 2 Kenbane-kebari 3

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Higashishinano Ueda area (Kenbane Kebari)
"The talk with Mr. Masuji Ibuse in The Complete Dialogues Compilation of Takeshi Kaiko 3 The volume on Fishing" starts with Mr. Takeshi Kaiko's talk as follows. "Kaiko: I start with the talk of Kebari, to fish Yamame by the kenbane of Korean pheasant, although it can get only two pieces by one bird, it is said that it can be fished explosively if the kenbane is used for kebari of Yamame. It is said that when fishing-tackle stores began to have imported the kenbane, prudent fisher grieved that Japanese Yamame is exterminated if it was in this situation. ..."
I think that such a story was made since the kenbane (alula) was a rare kebari material. And the kenbane kebari is well known as a typical pattern of tenkara kebari. Tenkara expert Hirotoki Kuwabara wrote on Keiryu Tsuri VOL.5 as "It is a relatively recent kebari and was used in Aich, Shizuoka." but the origin of this kebari is not perfectly clear. The kebari of photos were made by Sanada-kebari that has a history of more than 100 years in Ueda, Nagano. These kebari are roughly #10 in hook size of the Western style. (References: Kaiko, Takeshi. Kaiko Takeshi Zen Taiwashusi 3 Tsuri-hen (Complete Dialogues Compilation of Takeshi Kaiko 3 Volume on Fishing). Tokyo, Ushio Publishing, 1982. Hirotoki Kuwabara. "Traditional Kebari of Tenkara". Keiryu Tsuri VOL.5. Sakufu Co., 1989.)


Okutano-kebari

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Nishijoshu Okutano (Uenomura) area
Kanna River that has the source in the north side in Mt. Mikuni, and runs through the mountain village of the southwest part of Gumma Prefecture. A fly of Mr. Shin-ichi Takahashi who has run Hamadaira hot-spring inn (Hamadaira hot-spring is closed now.) ranging to four generation from Mr. Hikobei who is said to have carried out the role that found and protects young bird of a hawk for offering to the shogunate in the middle of Edo period (1700s). The hook was eyed hook No.8, and the body and the hackle were tied without the foundation with one feather of copper pheasant or bantam. The head was tied with black silk thread. The hackle fibers that escaped from the body were left without cutting. From time of Mr. Shin-ichi's father Mr. Tojuro, the fly that the hook of sodegata No.8, the body of peacock herl or copper pheasant, the hackle of bantam has been used. But it became the above fly in later years. The rod length was 3m. The line was horse tail furled tapered line. The tippet was silk gut, and became nylon No. 0.6 - 0.8 (6X - 5X) later. This is fly that I reproduced. (References: Tokado, Hideo. Shokuryoshiden (Lives of Commercial Fishermen). Tokyo, Rural Culture Association Japan, 2013.)


Kuromori-kebari 1 Kuromori-kebari 2 Kuromori-kebari 3 Kuromori-kebari 4
Kuromori-kebari 5 Kuromori-kebari 6 Kuromori-kebari 7
Kuromori-kebari 8 Kuromori-kebari 8
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Koshu Kuromori area
Koshu Kuromori fly has been handed down on area in a traffic strategic location where Yamanashi is connected with Nagano from of old. In "Tenkara Club vol.3", Goro Fujiwara expert said that the branch of straight dry Japanese larch of 12 feet or more in length was used for the rod, and it was casted up and down. The upper photos are the valuable flies that were tied by Masanori Togawa expert who was the kingpin of traditional tenkara fishing. I got them from Togawa expert's wife. Each flies of black or white or brown were used properly by the river and time. The Kuromori flies are tied to the heavy hook of the wide gape, and the bodies are thickish and the color not so used in other flies are used. I heard that there are few people who hand down the kuromori fly fishing now. It is really regrettable. The under photos are flies that I tied by the colors of triple hook flies for beginner that were designed by Togawa expert, and commercial flies of blue and yellow body that appeared in the book. (References: Wakabayashi, Shigeru. Ah! Koshu Kuromori Kebari. Tenkara club. Vol. 3. Tokyo, Kosaido Publishing, 2002.)


Okutama-kebari 1 Okutama-kebari 2

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Okutama Taba area
Okutama area is called the inner garden or inner parlor of Tokyo, and has many visitor, and has produced many commercial fishermen and experts. It is said that kebari-tsuri (kebari fishing) has been called "Hane-tsuri" in Taba from the old days. The left is fly of Mr. Tadashi Morioka who inherited the tradition. The hook was sodegata hineri No.8, the body was tied by peacock herl, the hackle was bantam or rooster, and the fiber of wild silkworm cocoon was tied to the end of body. The peculiar tradition of Tanba is retractable tippet. It pulls two knots on the end of body, and can renew the tippet that got damaged. From the left the second is fly of Mr. Iwao Sakai who got to know the fly of Tanba, and adopted it and used at Kosugegawa River. These are flies that I reproduced. (References: Tokado, Hideo. Shokuryoshiden (Lives of Commercial Fishermen). Tokyo, Rural Culture Association Japan, 2013.)


Traditional Tenkara Kebari Pictures (Click On Images.)

Asahi mountain range Arakawa area Oze area Nikko area

These are the original pictures of only one by ink and transparent watercolors.
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