Kawaii Japanese ice-fishingSapporo, Japan
Hunting for lunch on a frozen river sounds like a macho way to fill your belly. Not in Japan, where ice-fishing oozes cuteness and culminates in bowls full of crunchy wakasagi (tempura smelt fish). Colourful tents rise from Sapporo’s solid Barato River, some with portable heaters offering respite from the cold (find one and make friends with the owners).
Grab a teeny-tiny rod, settle on a low-rise stool and dangle your line in a hole carved in the very thick crust. Once you’ve reeled in a feast, dip your snacks in batter, plunge them into a bubbling pot of oil and give them their marching orders straight to your gob.
Your guide will collect you from the north exit of the JR Train at Sapporo Station.
Hokkaido Treasure Island Travel runs half-day tours from January to March from about US$70 for morning tours with lunch included, or US$64 for slightly shorter afternoon tours without lunch.
Smelt fishing isn’t quite as easy as it sounds, though you should catch at least one during your time on the ice.
The company doesn’t allow pregnant women on the trip.