Translated by Lester Somera
Only in Shizuoka! Fresh-Caught Sakura Shrimp from Yui Harbor
Written by OsawaKimie
There is only one place in the world to eat fresh-caught sakura shrimp: Shizuoka City. If you are visiting Shizuoka, you absolutely must sample this amazing seafood.
The prefecture of Shizuoka is located midway between Tokyo and Osaka. Since Shizuoka faces out onto the depths of Suruga Bay, you can catch many different kinds of marine life at various places within the prefecture. The rare sakura shrimp is particularly famous, as it can only be caught in two places in Japan, both in Shizuoka: Yui Harbor in Shizuoka City and Oigawa Harbor in Yaezu City.
Sakura shrimp are a tiny shrimp species, only a few centimeters long, and packed with savory flavor. They are eaten unshelled, and are used in a variety of Japanese dishes.
In this article, we will explain what makes the sakura shrimp caught in Yui Harbor - with a flavor not found anywhere else in the world - so appealing, and introduce a superb view that interweaves sakura shrimp and Mount Fuji, which can only be seen here.
Shizuoka City, Home to Yui Harbor
Shizuoka City, located in almost the exact center of the prefecture, is the prosperous capital of Shizuoka. The local area we’ll introduce today is the Yui Urahara district, where sakura shrimp can be caught.
On the platform at Yui Station, your eyes will be drawn to the sign, which reads “Welcome to Yui, the number one sakura shrimp town in Japan.” Yui has a nationwide reputation as the town where you can catch sakura shrimp. When it is sakura shrimp season in Yui Harbor, tourists from all over Japan descend on the area, and it’s not unusual for long lines to form at restaurants and other establishments.
The Singular Sight of Sakura Shrimp, Drying in the Sun
Sakura shrimp can only be caught in Suruga Bay during the spring (from late March to early June) and the fall (from late October to late December). The catch, unloaded at Yui Harbor, is then dried in the sun at the Fujikawa riverbed in Kanbara.
On sunny days, you can behold the picturesque view of pink sakura shrimp being dried on the ground, set against the backdrop of Mt. Fuji.
In addition to the scent of the sea, venture close to where the sakura shrimp are being dried, and the aroma of sakura shrimp will waft towards you as the refreshing breeze from Suruga Bay caresses your face. You will feel invigorated by the ambiance, which can only be felt here.
This time, we were allowed to touch the drying sakura shrimp. According what we were told, sakura shrimp taste best when they have been dried in sunny weather for a full day. It was said that a moderate amount of moisture is drawn out, and the original shrimp flavor is condensed, which makes them perfect in any recipe.
Try Sakura Shrimp for Real
We tried sampling actual sakura shrimp at a restaurant close to Yui Harbor. First, we had freshly caught raw sakura shrimp. The first think we’d like you to see is how transparent they are. The shrimp glitter brightly, almost like jewels. It’s recommended that you eat fresh sakura shrimp plain, without topping them with soy sauce or other condiments. When we felt the combination of sweetness and savory flavors, we involuntarily let out an excited yelp.
Our next challenge was sakura shrimp kaki-age fritters!! Typically kaki-age fritters are made with finely-chopped vegetables, seafood and other ingredients, fried together in tempura batter. Here, the kaki-age is mostly made of sakura shrimp! Honestly, the only other things in the fritter were a few chopped onions and the like.
If you eat a sakura shrimp kaki-age fritter outside of Shizuoka City, it’s typical for it to contain mostly vegetables and only a little sakura shrimp, but here you can savor kaki-age that contains an almost extravagant amount of sakura shrimp.
This is oki agari, a local specialty eaten by fishermen. Simply put, it’s a sakura shrimp hotpot. It’s said oki agari’s popularity stems from when the fishermen would return to shore after a cold day spent on the open water, then warm up with a meal containing their catch.
What did you think? Shizuoka Prefecture is the only place in the world where you can eat freshly-caught sakura shrimp. On sunny days in the shrimp-drying season, you can witness a beautiful sight unlike anywhere else in the world.
Why not visit Shizuoka, and sample the bounty of Suruga Bay for yourself?
Sakura Shrimp Sun-Drying
Address: Shizuoka City, Shimizu ward, Urahara (Fujikawa Riverbed)
Phone number: 054-385-7730
Homepage: Yui Harbor Fisheries Association
Yui Harbor Fisheries Association
Address: Shizuoka City, Shimizu ward, Yuiimajuku 1127
Phone number: 054-376-0001
Homepage: Yui Harbor Fisheries Association