Visiting the Port in Toyoura Town, Fish Market and Scallop Fishing[Toyoura]

  • Visiting the Port in Toyoura Town, Fish Market and Scallop Fishing[Toyoura]



    by Shungo Hanaoka

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    Toyoura Town, a seaside town in the Iburi Subprefecture, was named after its rich fishing and agricultural resources brought from the Uchiura Bay (in the Japanese character, Toyo means rich, Ura means bay). It is known as the origin of the Japanese scallop cultivation, and hence scallops are the most famous of many delicious seafood the town produces. In Toyoura Town, you can have a guided tour around the fishing port, and see how the Japanese scallops are cultivated. Furthermore, you can also visit some facilities which are not normally open for public. In the tour, you can closely see the fish market, and have a taste of scallop for your lunch.


    The meeting spot is a restaurant near the Toyoura Port. You will meet the tour guide here, and put on the so called “kappa-zubon” (“raincoat pants”) which all the fishermen wear. Get excited feeling like a fisherman yourself!


    At the port, while looking at the ships, the scallop cultivation process is described with fun illustrations and videos on iPad.


    Today, the sorting process of scallops were described using the “scallop sorting machine”. There is also an explanation on the traditional “ear hanging” process of scallop cultivation using some models. (“Ear hanging”, mimi-zuri in Japanese, refers to the cultivation process where the fishermen hang the scallops by their “ears”, or the small parts of the shell near its joint.)


    After learning about the scallop cultivation, you can try scallop fishing. You will use a handmade fishing rod with a metal stick as a bait. Try catching as many scallops as possible, pulling the rod as the scallop tucks in the bait with its shells opening slightly. This is the same way “The World Scallop Fishing Championship” is competed in the town.


    As you are having fun at scallop fishing, the auction at the fish market is about to begin. You can closely see how the fishermen and the buyers make deals at the market.


    After visiting the port, you can have a scallop lunch at the restaurant, the meeting spot earlier in the day. (The menu may vary from the picture.) After learning how it is cultivated, it tastes even more delicious!


    The tour guide is Ms. Hiroko Tanaka (center in the photograph), a member of the Toyoura Town Rural Development Cooperation (Toyoura-cho Chiiki Okoshi Kyoryoku-tai).  She was previously a director at a television company, and creates handmade props for the fun explanation.

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