Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advisory Information

Japanese Snow Crabs: Savor Winter Seafood At 3 Inns By The Sea Of Japan!

Japanese Snow Crabs: Savor Winter Seafood At 3 Inns By The Sea Of Japan!

Translated by Greg

Written by Kajiyama

Hyogo 2019.12.15 Bookmark

Crab season in Japan from November to March is a chance to enjoy a rare seasonal delicacy. Stay at a ryokan and indulge in fresh crab along the Sea of Japan. This article introduces three traditional inns serving fantastic crab cuisine and other great amenities.

The Season for Fresh Snow Crab in Japan!

The season for Zuwaigani snow crabs, which are caught in the Sea of Japan in winter, started this year on November 6, 2019. These crabs are known as the king of winter flavor in Japan.

Fresh crab cuisine can only be enjoyed from early November until the end of March, which marks the typical crab season along the Japan Sea. Many lodgings and restaurants try to attract customers with these rare seafood delicacies.

The crab is known for its tender meat and a sweet but savory umami flavor. Stay at a ryokan and enjoy the Japanese winter custom of dining on delicious crab.

In this article, we introduce three impressive traditional inns in Hyogo Prefecture, which boasts the largest catch of Zuwaigani crabs, Tottori Prefecture, and Ishikawa Prefecture.

We include highlights of each lodging, including their hot springs, beautiful Japanese-style gardens, and delicious crab cuisine.

Hyogo: Nishimuraya Hotel Shogetsutei- Enjoy San'in Region Snow Crab

snow crab in japan

Picture courtesy of Nishimuraya Hotel Shogetsutei

Nishimuraya Hotel is a well-established ryokan with a history spanning 160 years, located in the Kinosaki Onsen area of Hyogo.

Nishimuraya Hotel Shogetsutei, an annex to the main hotel, has barrier-free western-style rooms in addition to the suites that have rotemburo (outdoor baths). This is a lodging that meets the present-day needs of guests while maintaining traditional customs.

The crabs served at Nishimuraya Hotel Shogetsutei, are called Matsubagani, or Matsuba crab, the name for fully-grown male Zuwaigani crabs. They are known for their firm meat and a rich-tasting kani miso (*1).

*1 kani miso: refers to the innards of a crab that remain in the shell after the meat is removed. In Japan it's a popular delicacy that's often left in the crab shell and heated over a fire. It is also used as a topping for sushi.

japanese snow crab

Picture courtesy of Nishimuraya Hotel Shogetsutei

The most popular dining plan is Kani Shogetsu, which offers a special selection of crab. Diners receive two locally caught Matsuba crabs each.

The crab meat is prepared in a variety of ways: cooked with sake, put on a skewer and grilled, boiled, baked, served sukiyaki-style, and made into zosui (leftovers are added to a rice soup to finish the meal).

This is a full course that allows diners to enjoy their fill of Matsuba crab.

japanese snow crab

Picture courtesy of Nishimuraya Hotel Shogetsutei

The hotel has different kinds of hot spring baths: a large indoor bath, an outdoor bath, a mist sauna, and a jacuzzi bath.

Guests can also enjoy the Private Onsen Spa, which includes a rock sauna, and a rotemburo that adjoins to the guest room area.

西村屋ホテル招月庭

View Map & Details
lodgingrestaurant

Tottori: Ryokan Ohashi - Relish Dishes from an Award-Winning Chef

japanese snow crab

Picture courtesy of Ryokan Ohashi

Ryokan Ohashi is a lodging in Misasa Onsen in Tottori. It has a dignified atmosphere and the ryokan's building is a Nationally Registered Tangible Cultural Property.

Here, you can indulge in crab dishes that have been prepared by a chef who won a Modern Master award from the Japanese government, recognized for his outstanding skills and craftsmanship.

The Special Live Crab Kaiseki Plan allows guests to enjoy Zuwaigani snow crabs prepared in a variety of ways, like shabu-shabu style, skewer-grilled, charcoal-fire grilled, and boiled.

Head chef Soichi Chikuma's cuisine reflects the ryokan's desire to be known as a food destination, exemplified by the care and attention that goes into his dishes.

japanese snow crab

Picture courtesy of Ryokan Ohashi

For breakfast, they serve fluffy dashi-maki omelets, which are highly popular. The ryokan uses Tenbiran free-range eggs from Oenosato Natural Farm in Tottori, hoping to encourage the consumption of local food.

japanese snow crab

Picture courtesy of Ryokan Ohashi

Ryokan Ohashi offers delicious cuisine served in a relaxing space. The lodging also has a radon hot spring that is said to be helpful for alleviating neuralgia, lowering blood pressure, and other health benefits.

Be sure to visit nearby Mitokusan Sanbutsuji, a temple that was the first to be registered as a National Historic Site in Japan.

Oohasi Inn

View Map & Details
lodgingrestaurant

Ishikawa: Hoshi- The Oldest Ryokan in the Hokuriku Area

snow crab in japan

Picture courtesy of Hoshi
Hoshi first opened as a sanitarium lodge (tojiyu) offering spa treatments, and boasts a history of 1,300 years. It was even officially recognized by the "Guiness Book of World Records" as one of the oldest operating hot spring hotels in the world, and is the oldest lodging in the Hokuriku area of Japan.

With the Hoshi Crab Plan you can choose from a wide range of options, including reasonably-priced boiled crab. The most popular is the Whole Crab Kaiseki Plan. Served with the kitchen's special crab vinegar, an entire crab will be brought to your table (see picture above).

If you want to thoroughly indulge in luxury then you need to try the Live Crab Kaiseki Plan, featuring Zuwaigani crabs that the head chef buys directly from the local fish market.

You can indulge in 13 varieties of food including pressed crab sushi (crab oshi-zushi), crab sukiyaki, and charcoal-fire grilled crab.

snow crabs in japa

Picture courtesy of Hoshi

snow crabs in japan

Picture courtesy of Hoshi

Hoshi borders a traditional Japanese garden that was greatly admired by Edo period tea master Kobori Enshu. You can stroll through and admire the beauty of Japan's four seasons at this ryokan!

Houshi Ryokan

View Map & Details
lodgingrestaurantspa

Osaka Travel Guide

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.

Related topics