Hamanoeki Matsukawaura: Fresh Seafood in Fukushima's Soma City

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Soma, a city in Fukushima Prefecture, suffered severe tsunami damage in March 2011. In 2020, Hamanoeki Matsukawaura, a symbol of the area's recovery efforts, opened for business. This article introduces the highlights of the facility, including delicious marine and farm products alongside souvenirs....

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Hamanoeki Matsukawaura: Soma City's Kitchen Pantry

Hamanoeki Matsukawaura Interior

Photo of Hamanoeki Matsukawaura

Fukushima Prefecture's Hamadori region faces the Pacific Ocean and is home to a flourishing fishing industry. Soma City is located in the northern part of this region. In addition to its mild climate and beautiful nature, the city is known for its liveability.

Matsukawaura, selected among the 100 Famous Views of Japan, features the Matsukawaura Bridge. This landmark is located in Uraguchi, the region's northern sector.

At the foot of the bridge, you'll find Hamanoeki Matsukawaura. Serving as the "citizen's kitchen pantry," it offers a wide selection of fresh marine products loved by locals.

In this article, we'll introduce Hamanoeki Matsukawaura, a must-visit spot in Soma.

Hamanoeki Matsukawaura: A Symbol of Fukushima's Recovery Efforts

Matsukawaura Bridge

Matsukawaura Bridge

The Hamadori region suffered severe tsunami damage after the Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011. Even Soma's Matsukawaura Fishing Port, which boasted one of the largest numbers of fishing boats, was not spared.

The tsunami damaged the fishing port, harbor facilities, and boats. Then the ensuing nuclear power plant accident resulted in damaging rumors, creating distress for the region's fishers and farmers.

Ten years have passed since the natural disaster on March 11. The once lively atmosphere has not returned to the harbor and surrounding vicinity despite restoration efforts.

Then in 2020, Hamanoeki Matsukawaura opened for business as a symbol of local recovery efforts. This is a multi-purpose facility that sits beside Matsukawaura Fishing Port.

With its opening, there are high hopes that Fukushima's marine products will recover from the damaging effects of rumors. This also includes whether the fishing industry can return to full-scale operations and the harbor will once again be bustling with activity.

From Local Marine Products to Specialty Food Items

Hamanoeki Matsukawaura

Photo of Hamanoeki Matsukawaura

Hamanoeki Matsukawaura is divided into a retail shop, food court, and Seashore Kitchen Quasetto. The store also sells seafood products, agricultural goods, and specialty items.

 Hamanoeki Matsukawaura: Enjoy Fresh Seafood in Fukushima's Soma City!

Photo of fresh seafood products at Hamanoeki Matsukawaura

Soma City Seafood

Photo of Hamanoeki Matsukawaura

Of course, the shop's featured product is fresh seafood. Many customers come looking for fish in season. The Haragama Fish Market, found directly in front, receives fish right after they're caught. You'll find a huge selection of various fish sold at reasonable prices.

Up on the wall near the ceiling, there are pictures of fish from every season. You can use this visual as a reference when choosing what to purchase (see photo above).

Hamanoeki Matsukawaura: Enjoy Fresh Seafood in Fukushima's Soma City!
Haragama Fish Market

Photo of Hamanoeki Matsukawaura

The shop's most popular products are apparently the flatfish and surf clams. Fukushima surf clams are especially known for being tender and sweet tasting.

Hamanoeki Matsukawaura: Enjoy Fresh Seafood in Fukushima's Soma City!

At the market, there's a pamphlet called the Soma Fish Manual (in Japanese) that is handed to visitors. It contains useful information including an introduction on fish varieties, a fish filleting instructional diagram, and easy to understand recipes.

We recommend trying some of these recipes at home while following the pamphlet's instructions. Shopping and cooking will instantly become fun and enjoyable!

Hamanoeki Matsukawaura

Photo of Hamanoeki Matsukawaura

In addition to fish, the shop is overflowing with attractive products, including fresh vegetables and fruit, popular Soma confectionery and food items, and locally brewed sake.

You'll probably be tempted to buy up everything in sight!

Food Court and Seashore Kitchen Quasetto

The seafood caught in Fukushima's Hamadori region is called "Joban mono," meaning that its delicious taste has been known since ancient times. This freshly-caught "Joban mono" is also featured on the menu at Seashore Kitchen Quasetto.

The restaurant menu differs depending on the season and fish availability. The blackboard at the shop's entrance lists the day's catch and daily set lunch menu. Please refer to this when placing your order.

In addition to over ten donburi dishes, Seashore Kitchen Quasetto features set lunch menus and limited-time seasonal specials.

Next, we'll introduce some of these menu items!

Seashore Kitchen Quasetto: Try The Fresh Joban Mono Products!

Soma Seafood Kuyodonburi

Photo of Seafood Kitchen Quasetto

The shop's specialty item is the Soma Seafood Kuyodonburi (2,500 yen after tax).

It features a motif based on the family crest and kuyo (*1) of the Soma Nakamura clan, who once governed this region. In the center of the large serving tray, there's a salmon roe donburi (rice bowl). Surrounding this in a circular fashion are eight varieties of sliced seafood, including maguro tuna, octopus, shrimp, and salmon (see above photo).

There are different ways to enjoy the fresh slices. The fish can be dipped in soy sauce, eaten as sashimi, and put on rice as a seafood donburi dish.

*1 Kuyo or Kuyomon: a nine-planet crest in which a large circle is surrounded by eight smaller circles. The large circle represents the sun and, together with the eight other celestial bodies, this emblem possesses a strong symbolism in Buddhism.

Seasonal Lunch Set

Photo of Seafood Kitchen Quasetto

The shop also serves nizakana (fish cooked in sake and soy sauce) and deep-fried fish. So, visitors who don't care for sashimi can still enjoy Joban mono.

On the day of the interview, our writer enjoyed a delicious meal of deep-fried cod and flounder.

Seafood Kitchen Quasetto

Photo of Seafood Kitchen Quasetto

In the Soma Japanese dialect, "Quasetto" means "We'd like to feed you!" The restaurant management includes advice from local fishers regarding what seafood is in season and the best ways to eat them.

The shop's wish is for customers to fully savor the taste of Joban mono.

A New Sightseeing Base in Soma City

Soma seaweed

Green Algae Monostroma Nitidum (Hitoegusa), a specialty of Soma Matsukawaura

Hamanoeki Matsukawaura is not only a great place to shop for fresh marine products. It's a wonderful resting spot where you can enjoy a relaxing meal.

We were told that the shop staff want customers to enjoy shopping and a seafood meal in a safe and relaxing environment.

Hamanoeki Matsukawaura

Photo of Hamanoeki Matsukawaura

In March 2021, Fukushima Prefecture's fishing industry completed its experimental test operations and have returned to full-scale operations.

Hamanoeki Matsukawaura has taken on the mission to revitalize the local fishing port. Today, it features tasty seafood products and eagerly awaits many visitors.

In Conclusion

Matsukawaura Fishing Port

Photo of Matsukawaura Fishing Port

To reach Fukushima's Soma City from Tokyo or Sendai, take the Joban Line's limited express Hitachi. It's three hours and 50 minutes from Tokyo Station and about 50 minutes from Sendai Station.

Driving from Fukushima City by car takes about 70 minutes on the Soma Fukushima Road. It takes an hour to use the Sendai-Tobu Road and Joban Expressway from Sendai.

Enjoy a walk along Matsukawaura's beautiful coastline while taking in the blue sky and ocean. Then sample Hamanoeki Matsukawaura's delectable seafood and go searching for the perfect souvenir.

With breathtaking seaside views and gourmet offerings, this is bound to be an unforgettable trip!

Sponsored by Fukushima Prefecture
Interview in cooperation with Hamanoeki Matsukawaura and SEASHORE KITCHEN QUASETTO

Due to COVID-19, there may be changes in business hours at Hamanoeki Matsukawaura and SEASHORE KITCHEN QUASETTO.

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Tokyo, Japan

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