Sakura


Sakura Fishing Tackle

It starts some years ago when I became friends with Yoshikazu Fujioka in 1996 or so, we had been exchanging information on small stream fly fishing. I'm not sure when the first mention of Tenkara was on his web site "Trout and Seasons of the Mountain Village" and for me, it doesn't matter. What is personally important is the love of the Japanese aesthetic, the beauty in their writing and love of fishing. Fujiyoka-san's site was one of my favorites if not my absolute favorite on fly fishing. I learned so much about Japanese fly fishing and about Shirakawa Go and the area around it.


In 2009, Tenkara equipment became available outside of Japan and I was introduced to Daniel Galhardo we decided together that his rod, the Ebisu was the best fit for my introduction to Tenkara. I loved the petite wood handle and reading more about Tenkara, I began researching its history from Japanese books and web sites. I made friends with many Japanese having had experience with the Internet shrinking the distances between our countries.

In my research, I happened on the rod company, Sakura in Kanda, Tokyo. They offered two rods, the Kongo (Diamond) and the Seki Rei (Wagtail birds) These two rods where already established prior to 2009, the Kongo being a little harder tone than the Seki Rei and having a multi-material (composite forward portion with a premium cork main section) shaped symmetrical handle that fit the natural grip of either hand. The Kongo came in two finishes, the regular black finish and the Betuatsurae finish which is a bamboo color with striation and beautifully painted section ends. The Seki Rei was a paulownia wood handle rod that had a distinctive green colored blank and a slightly softer tone than the Kongo. I was attracted to the Seki Rei and ordered one from Sakura.

After having received the rod, I began to fish it. That Seki Rei in 2010 was one of the first Japanese made and developed Tenkara rods introduced to America and on to the world through our newly created focused web site, Tenkara-Fisher. The web site in itself had some great statistics as well. Tenkara-Fisher was the second web site outside of Japan focused on Japanese style fly fishing, Tenkara. Daniel Galhardo’s site, Tenkara USA being the first and foremost even to this day.

I contacted Sakura with my idea of introducing their rods for sale to the public and began helping them set up dealers in different countries. I found out through my affiliation with Sakura that their rods actually have the seal of “traditional craft” from the country of Japan. The rods have been developed by Japanese anglers and made in Japan. I enjoyed knowing that this old and small Japanese fishing brand had the support of its people and country. I wanted nothing more than to share an authentic Tenkara rod with friends; I knew we were early into the development of Tenkara outside of Japan.

Tenkara-Fisher, the web site and our assistance in helping discriminating Tenkara Fishers obtain Sakura rods, we began to assist many early Tenkara anglers in purchasing their own first Japanese Tenkara rod from Sakura. Craig Thoreson, Christian Horgren, Michael Agneta, Jeff Smith, John Geer, Craig Thom, Imraan Parker, Stephen Boshoff and many many others with their first Japanese Tenkara rods. I continue on with that role today delicately balancing my commitment and honoring my introduction of Tenkara from Daniel Galhardo and his company, Tenkara USA. I think it is an organic union very much like the progression of Tenkara in Japan.


In 2013, I travelled to Japan and meet the Sakura family and was given a tour of their shop. The Sakura shop has all sorts of rods, traditional to Japan, much of the inventory was bamboo and in the area where the Tenkara rods were represented was a collection of Sakura rods from very early on in the Tenkara timeline.


I spoke with the elder Sakurai where we discussed my interest in Tenkara. I was the first American to be so interested in their history where he could see my interest and that made him happy. He spoke of Suzuki Goyshin and Yamamoto Soseki and how they worked together to spread Tenkara far and wide. I believe that this was the second wave of Tenkara as I have had it explained to me by Daniel Galhardo’s idea of the three waves of Tenkara. I was given the promise of support of the Sakurai family for helping spread Tenkara. The interesting note is that Tenkara is the smallest portion of their rod sales, very small but they support this part of the business because it is very important to their history.

The Sakura Rod Shop is around 130 years old and has supported Tenkara with their rods as long as the shop has been available to fishermen. That visit to the shop and the education I was provided on Sakura’s heritage throughout the years was amazing.

Through Yamamoto Soseki’s books on Tenkara fishing in Japan, I found out about many other Tenkara anglers such as Yuzo Sebata, Hisao Ishigaki and many others. As I studied Tenkara, Sakura rods where widely represented through the longevity that their shop has provided materials and support.

The more I studied Tenkara from media in Japan, through my friends and expert anglers there, the more I realized that Sakura was a brand of rod that had a lineage that ran far and wide in Japan and now outside of Japan as Tenkara has expanded. It is a name synonymous through the history of Tenkara yet there are many people that have not heard of them.

I’ve honed my own skills using the Seki Rei and Kongo. I’ve helped collectors in obtaining old Sakura rods like the Kawakaze and early versions of the Seki Rei.


Recently I made my second Tenkara oriented trip to Japan and again meet with Masayuki Sakurai and I was introduced to Yoshida Takashi (Yoshidakebari) who is a Tenkara teacher at Tokyo Trout Country. Yoshida-san is prominently covered in the Japanese magazine, “Headwaters” which is the quality periodical that covers all of Keiryu fishing. Yoshida-san extensively uses the Kongo for a lot of his fishing.

I recently visited Yuzo Sebata and was presented with an old Sakura rod that is fiberglass but appears to be made of bamboo! Sebata-san gave the rod to me with a big smile that turned into a laugh as he could see me looking at the rod trying to figure it out. It is just one of many different rods that are in a long lineage of progressive rods made for Tenkara anglers, a bridge rod of fiberglass that looks like it is made of bamboo, the material that the first Tenkara rods were made of.

Sakura made a decision to choose us to become a representative of their rods outside of Japan. Just as they have supported the initial development of Tenkara in Japan, they also supported the growth and authenticity of Tenkara outside of Japan. Sakura is a great company that supports Tenkara since the very beginning.

Sakura Tenkara Rods

Out of production: Kawakaze - (Vintage) Seki Rei - Sao Kongo

Current production: Seki Rei - Kongo


[to be continued as I find the time to report the chronological history of Tenkara-Fisher]


Order Information for North America 
Click here to place an order inquiry. 

The Japanese Yen conversion to United States dollars fluctuates daily. I purchase in Yen but have converted retail prices to *US Dollars including s/h to your door insured with delivery confirmation. I will place the order on the day I receive the payment. The time from payment to delivery should be less than 10 days. The cost of importing the rods one by one is significant however these are premium rods made for the discriminating tenkara enthusiast.

Indicate the model and length and which finish you prefer when ordering the Seki Rei or the Kongo. When ordering the Kongo, indicate what finish you want. Please use this link above to contact me for your order and or inquiries.

* Prices subject to change due to currency exchange rate and or importation process. 

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Seki Rei 
From Sakura: "Tenkara fishing used to be for the professional fishermen. At the time, instead of carbon rods, bamboo tenkara rods had been favorably chosen to use. The Seki Rei has extra-sensitive moderate action that is modernized with fine carbon graphite material. It might take time to get used to the extra mild action of 6:4 however, once you master it, this rod will introduce you to a new conception of Tenkara fishing. The Seki Rei enables smooth casts with the fly lightly landing on the surface, just as the orignial meaning of Tenkara (Descending down from the sky). When you have a take, the fine but well-balanced rod power provides you with perfect sets and sensitive fights. One fish by one fish, in this way, the taste of fishing may get more sophisticated. Luxurious natural paulownia wood grip fits nicely with wet hands." 
3.3m (10.82′) – Collapsed size: 58.5cm (23.11″) – Sections: 7 – Weight 65g (2.29oz)
3.6m (11.81′) – Collapsed size: 53.5cm (21.06″) – Sections: 8 – Weight 76g (2.68oz)


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Kongo
From Sakura: "Featuring high-modulus and ultra light Kongo blanks, “Kongo Tenkara” is designed with a handy fold length size of 37cm. However, once a tenkara fisher swings the rod, he can feel not only the overall flexibility but also delicate sharpness. This rod in addition, has reliable butt power to fight huge trout. It’s action is an orignial 7:3 Tenkara style." 
Betuatsurae" Kongo Tenkara (pictured below) is an alternative version of the same Kongo blanks. It is affectionate Japanese style of coloring like bamboo. It has been attracting Sakura fans in Japan for many years as well.


3.0m (9.84′) – Collapsed size: 36cm (14.17″) – Sections: 10 – Weight: 59g (2.08oz)
3.3m (10.82′) – Collapsed size: 36cm (14.17″) – Sections: 11 – Weight: 65g (2.29oz)
3.6m (11.81′) – Collapsed size: 36cm (14.17″) – Sections: 12 – Weight: 75g (2.64oz)
3.9m (12.79′) – Collapsed size: 38cm (14.96″) – Sections: 13 – Weight: 93g (3.28oz)

Kongo 

3.0m (9.84′) – Collapsed size: 36cm (14.17″) – Sections: 10 – Weight: 59g (2.08oz)
3.3m (10.82′) – Collapsed size: 36cm (14.17″) – Sections: 11 – Weight: 65g (2.29oz)
3.6m (11.81′) – Collapsed size: 36cm (14.17″) – Sections: 12 – Weight: 75g (2.64oz)
3.9m (12.79′) – Collapsed size: 38cm (14.96″) – Sections: 13 – Weight: 93g (3.28oz)