Translated by Sandy Lau
Karato Market In Shimonoseki: Enjoy Puffer Fish Sashimi For 1000 Yen!
Written by Maki
Puffer fish is considered to be a high-grade, luxury fish in Japan. Shimonoseki’s Karato Market in Yamaguchi deals with the largest haul of puffer fish in Japan; here you can enjoy freshly prepared puffer fish sold at bargain prices.
When it comes to what food Shimonoseki (Yamaguchi prefecture) is known for, most will think of puffer fish. Puffer fish has been eaten in Japan since long ago as a high-grade, luxury fish.
The area that deals with the largest amount of puffer fish in Japan is Shimonoseki’s Karato Market. The fact that you can purchase puffer fish here at a bargain price is definitely one of the market’s many charms.
In this article, we will pay a visit to the Karato Market.
A Novel Market Where It's Easy to Make a Purchase
Karato Market is a building that faces the Kanmon Straits in Yamaguchi. Fish are unloaded daily from the nearby port and then laid out in the market.
Many fish markets only allow professional vendors to make purchases, however, a direct sales market is available at Karato Market so that even the general public can make purchases.
The market is crowded with vendors early in the morning. It will be easier to shop if you visit after 7:00 when it is less crowded.
The market not only sells seafood, but vegetables, fresh flowers, processed foods, and other products as well.
A Must Buy! Puffer Fish at a Reasonable Price
The taste of puffer fish is light and simple while the texture is meaty. It can be eaten and enjoyed as either sashimi or in a stew.
However, because of its delicious flavor, it has become known as a high quality dish, and costs roughly 30,000 yen for a full course meal in Tokyo.
At Karato Market, this high-quality fish is sold from around 1000 yen as sashimi, which is an extraordinary price!
Packaged puffer fish with tare sauce (a thick, sweet soy sauce) are sold as well, so visitors can immediately eat them after purchase.
Although there are several places aside from the market where you can eat puffer fish, Karato Market may be the cheapest way to purchase this fish in the Yamaguchi area.
The market also sells processed puffer fish that is simply prepared. This grilled puffer fish, in particular, can be eaten as a snack just the way it is.
It can be kept for a long time so we also recommend it as a souvenir.
Fukumanekin, said to bring happiness, is located inside the market. Puffer fish are synonymous with the word happiness in Shimonoseki; puffer fish are called “fuku” in Yamaguchi, which sounds the same as the word for happiness (fuku) in Japanese. Stroke Fuku’s face and you might get blessed!
A Street Filled With Perfect Food Souvenirs
In Karato Market there is a street where souvenirs are available as well.
Here you can find popular souvenirs like ochazuke (a topping for rice which you mix with tea), furikake (rice seasoning), senbei (rice crackers) and many more delicious treats.
Hirezake, Japanese sake permeated with the flavor of steeped puffer fish fins, is also sold at the market. The sake is slightly fragrant with a full-bodied flavor that is both sophisticated and delicious.
Mentaiko (salted pollack roe) is thought of as a Fukuoka specialty, but it actually originated in Shimonoseki. You might be able to come across a bargain when slightly imperfect items are found among the numerous mentaiko products.
As many tourists visit the market, a portion of the stores’ menus are printed in English, Chinese, and other languages.
Being able to interact with the locals and sales people in simple English is another appeal of the market.
Have Lunch Directly From the Fish Market
There are three teishoku (set meal) restaurants that operate from early morning to about noon on the second floor of the market.
Both restaurants will have long queues during lunch time. However, fresh puffer fish cuisine is worth it even if you must wait in line.
Karato Market is where Shimonoseki’s famous puffer fish is freshly caught and sold. Just seeing high-quality puffer fish sold at a price that is within her reach made our writer very excited.
Being able to enjoy the bustling atmosphere as the energetic salespeople’s voices fly across the market is another appeal of Karato Market. There are stores that will give you discounts when purchasing in bulk and that is sure to make you struggle with choosing what to do or buy.
But that indecisiveness is also distinctive to the market experience. Please, come try puffer fish and enjoy the tastes of Yamaguchi at Karato Market.