Karato Market is one of the most famous fish markets in Japan. Located in Shimonoseki, in Yamaguchi-prefecture, Karato market is most famous for ‘fugu’, which translates to blowfish. The Karato Market is not only famous for the ‘fugu’ but also for ‘tai’, red snapper and ‘hamachi’, which is yellowtail.
You can also find shrimp, sea urchins, turbine shells and ‘ikura’, Japanese red caviar, as well as many other types of seafood. The seafood you find at Karato Market is always fresh, coming directly from the sea. If you arrive early you can see the boats at the port loading off the fish.
‘Fugu’ – Japan’s famous blowfish
The famous ‘fugu’ in Japan is from a kind of blowfish called ‘puffer fish’. All puffer fish will inflate when scared or threatened, thus the name blowfish.
Due to its neurotoxin poison, the ‘fugu’ has to be prepared by professionals. One puffer fish contains enough poison to kill 30 adults, therefore the only people who can prepare and serve blowfish are properly trained professionals.
Even though blowfish can be deadly when not handled correctly, it remains a delicacy in Japan and is very expensive to buy. Costs can range from 2,000 yen and up. Fugu is served either as sashimi or in hotpot with vegetables.
The best time to visit
Best time to visit Karato Market is during weekends when they set up lots of food stalls with sashimi and sushi. Karato Market is a wholesale market, meaning the prices you find there are very cheap compared to supermarkets or restaurants. I recommend trying the fresh food for breakfast or lunch for a real local cuisine experience.
Sundays and holidays: 08:00-15:00
The Kanmon Straits
The Kanmon Straits, or The Shimonoseki Straits as it is also called, is the water that separates Honshu and Kyushu, two of the main islands of Japan. The Honshu side of the water is part of Shimonoseki and the Kyushu side belongs to the north of Kyushu. A big Kanmon Straits fireworks festival takes place in this area in August every year.
What to do around the Kanmon Straits
The festival takes place on August 13th every year, and a total of 13,000 fireworks are displayed from the Honshu and Kyushu side of the Kanmon Straits.
You can also take a helicopter ride from nearby the market. From the helicopter you can see the Kanmon Straits and a view of the town from way up high.
If you would rather stay near the ground, you can also take a boat ride with the Kanmon Line cruise boats. The boat takes you on a slow cruise around the Kanmon Straits.
How to get there:
Karato Market is located in Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi-prefecture. The nearest train station is Shimonoseki Station.
It is a 30 minute walk from Shimonoseki Station or you can also take a bus that leaves from Shimonoseki Station regularly. It is approximately 7 minutes by bus.
I'm an adventurer who moved to Japan and bought a house in the country side after 6 months of traveling in Asia. I have a B.A in Tourism and I just launched my own webpage: www.paintmeparadise.com. I love doing things considered 'impossible' and proving people wrong. I work hard to make my dreams come true, one day I want to make a living off of writing and photography because it makes me happy.
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