No, it's not a misspelling of a Middle Earth creature! Ukai is the Japanese word for Cormorant fishing, an ancient practice of using Cormorants to catch sweetfish (called "ayu" in Japanese). A group of trained Cormorants with on leashes attached to rings on the Cormorants' necks which prevent them from swallowing the fish. The fishing is done at night by firelight.
There are two locations in Kyoto where you can see Ukai: in Arashiyama (where this photo was taken) and in Uji. The season in Arashiyama runs from July 1st to September 16th each year, with fishing starting just after dark. The season in Uji runs from June 14th to September 21st.
In Arashiyama the nearest train station to the Ukai is Arashiyama Station on the Hankyu line. To get a good view catch one of the boats from the jetty about 65m to the South of the Togestukyo bridge. It's possible to get a ticket for a seat on a boat or hire a boat and driver.
This photo was taken with a Nikon D700 camera and an AF Nikkor 50f/1.8D lens. This photo has been cropped and editted in iPhoto.