Crocodile (Shark) Sashimi: The Shocking Local Cuisine Passed Down in a Valley Town!

Located in Hiroshima prefecture, Miyoshi city is situated in a valley in the shadows of the mountains. 

I heard that there’s a “wild” local dish on offer in the city and went to Muratake Souhonke, a restaurant popular with local people, to investigate.

Walking up to the entrance, I’m surprised… What?!

Crocodile!! As the signboard says that it is a ‘flavor of Miyoshi’, it must be that local dish! No. Wait a minute. There aren’t any crocodiles in Japan… are there? And why in Miyoshi? With a head full of questions, I enter the restaurant. 

With a pure Japanese style interior and a calm ambience, the restaurant offers dishes characteristic of the area and is popular among sightseers. 

Well then, let’s order some food! 

Ohhh! It’s not what I expected! And I mean it in a good way! I heard that it was wild, so I was a bit nervous, but the “crocodile sashimi” (bottom left) seems at first sight like any regular fish sashimi. The wild sesame soba and the fried Chinese yam wrapped in nori seaweed (both Miyoshi-grown) also look delicious. And just then, the proprietress comes and shows us a photograph.

“This a photograph from when the crocodile was caught,” she says!

(photograph provided by: Muratake Souhonke)

“Aaaaaaaagh!!!”

Is… Isn’t it a shark?!

“At Miyoshi sharks (‘same‘ in Japanese ) have the name as crocodiles (‘wani’),” she informs us. As shark meat doesn’t rot that easily, it has been eaten even in mountainous regions like Miyoshi since olden times.” 

I see, that’s right, sharks can be caught in the Sea of Japan, too. According to one theory, the origin of the name, which is ”wanizame”, appears in the myth of the Hare of Inaba. I feel refreshed now that my questions have been answered. 

The troublemaker of the sea has become such a beautiful flower.

Well then, let’s dip it in some soy sauce and have a try!

Very light and delicious, it has a unique, sticky texture, which is in good balance with the slightly spicy ginger flavor. I had the first “crocodile” meat of my life!

I was extremely satisfied with the flavors of Miyoshi. After l left the restaurant, I went to the supermarket on my way home saw….

“Crocodile” fillets! It was a moment of reconfirmation that even now “crocodile’ is eaten by locals. 

How did you like our shocking local dish? It you visit Miyoshi, do try out the “crocodile! 

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Murata Souhonke

Location: 6-1-8 Tokaichihigashi, Miyoshi city, Hiroshima prefecture
Open: [Mon – Sat] 11.00-14.30 (Last orders at 14.00), 17.00-22.00 (Last orders at 21.00) [Sun & National holidays] 11.00-15.00 (Last orders at 14.30), 17.00-21.30 (Last orders at 21.00)
Closed: No regular holidays
Tel: 0824-63-0666
http://muratake-souhonke.com/ (Japanese) 

Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Izumi Furukawa

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Izumi Furukawa

Izumi Furukawa

Izumi Furukawa Hello. My name is Izumi Furukawa and I was born in Kagawa Prefecture. Before getting married in 2012, I wrote for various magazine companies and Internet based media organizations in Tokyo. After marrying, I moved to Hiroshima and am now raising my child as well as writing stories about my fascination with this area through Setouchi Finder. Most of the articles I write are about places I visit on weekends with my family. My favorite driving course is Route 375 from Saijyo to the Miyoshi Area, and my favorite food from the Hiroshima area is Anagomeshi (from Miyajima)!!

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