Tenkara is the traditional Japanese method of fly-fishing where only a rod, line and fly are used. It originated and was perfected over centuries in the mountain-streams of Japan by commercial anglers. It is the ideal method of fly-fishing mountain streams but now many Americans are adapting it for many other uses.
Tenkara is about fly fishing simplicity. It eliminates unnecessary complexities to let anglers enjoy their fly-fishing experience. The ultra-light and portable gear is great for backpacking and hiking, 11-14 foot long rods collapse down to 20 inches. The long rods allow anglers to effectively fish challenging streams with ease. Casting a very light line and holding it off the water across intervening currents allows anglers to fish in ways almost impossible with western fly fishing. Tenkara can be seen as a tool to practice fly-fishing in any way (e.g. with any flies or techniques), or it can be seen as the complete method that it is.