Translated by Satomi Ohba
【SUMMER】A Summer Event ”Clam Digging” at Futtsu Beach
Written by Takahide Aoyagi
It’s summer! The beach is calling us! Go swim in the sea, play beach volleyball…but that’s not all you can do at the sea. If you want something different this summer, I recommend clam digging. Clam digging in Japan is somewhat special.
Clam Digging and Japan
Clam digging is to dig up clams from the sand in shallow shores. In Japan, clam digging shores open up from spring to summer. Clam digging itself is not so special, but “clam digging” is an important keyword in Japanese history!
Pictures from: Japan National Digital Library
Arranged by Mayori Kurokawa "Japanese Culture Pictures vol.12"
This picture is an Japanese art form “ukiyoe” of a clam digging scene. The link between clam digging and Japanese culture can be seen in other areas as well, for example the word “Shiohigari (clam digging)” is used in Japanese poetry, haiku. You can see that clam digging has been loved for ages in Japanese culture.
Biggest Clam Digging Event
The Japanese still love clam digging. When the clam digging season comes, TV and newspaper media pick it up as a big event. Even so, maybe you can’t believe that digging up clams could be a big event. So see for yourself the Japanese clam digging, in other words “Seeing is believing!”
Clam digging report is up to 1:30.
Actually, it was jaw-dropping to me as well.
Prepare for Clam Digging!
Passion and excitement is the word for Japanese clam digging. You can’t miss such a fun event! Then, what do you need to prepare to actually go clam digging?
- What you need
This rake is the most suitable for digging up clams in the sand. If you don’t care about the looks, you can get a good one at a 100 yen shop.
●Net or Bucket (for the shells)
In clam digging shores that take an admission fee, a net is handed out to check how much you took.
A bucket will come in handy when carrying your tools around as well.
- Suitable Clothing for Clam Digging
●Short Pants or Pants You Can Roll Up
The water can be up to your lower leg. Knee length pants should be OK.
●Beach Sandals that Won’t Come Off
Bare feet are dangerous! You might step on a shell and get hurt, so please be careful.
●Hat and Long Sleeve Cloths to Prevent Sunburn
Clam Digging is harder work than you think. It might be good to have these with you in order to prevent losing strength by the hot sun.
- To Take Home
●Cooler Box and Cold Water (for cooling)
You want the clams to be nice and fresh when you go home. To preserve freshness, keep the clams in sea water and set the temperature low.
How to Get Clams
If everything is ready, all you have to do is to dig and dig and dig. Let’s go clam digging!
There are three important points to know when going clam digging.
- 1: Where there are small holes in the sand
Clams are under such holes. You’ve got to get them.
- 2: Where the ground is flat
This means nobody has dug around here yet. There is a chance that you can find some clams left.
- 3: Dig shallow and wide
Clams live at about 5 cm from the top. If you can’t find them, try changing your digging style to a shallow and wide area with your rake.
With this in mind, you’ll surely have a large catch!
When you're concentrating you might forget these points. Calm down and remember these points when you can't get the clams.
After the Large Catch
A net full of clams!
Eating the clams that you gathered yourself is the best part of clam digging. Don’t worry, boxes are sold which you can use to carry the clams home.
“I want to go clam digging but I don’t want to go through the trouble of buying lots of tools.” In Japan you can go clam digging simply and easily. Why not go clam digging this summer?
Futtsu Beach Clam Digging Site 富津海岸潮干狩り場
Address: 2307-53 Futtsu, Futtsu-shi, Chiba
Hours: Depends on the tide table on official HP
Closed: Depends on the tide table on official HP
Nearest Statin: JR Uchibou line Aohori station
Access: 15 minute bus ride from JR Aohori station, for Futtsu Kouen, get off at Kouen Iriguchi bus stop
Admission Fee: Adults 1600 yen/Primary school children 800 yen/ Under 6 years old 700 yen
Official HP: Futtsu Fishing Cooperation