Two Top-choice Winter Flavors Brought Forth from Sado’s Waters

"Kan-buri" (winter yellowtail) is the most popular when it comes to Sado's winter flavors.

Buri (yellowtail) is well-known as a “shusse-uo” (a fish that is called by different names as it grows larger). On Sado Island, yellowtail is called “inada” when it weighs about 1 kilogram, and “warasa” when it weighs 2 to 3 kilograms. Yellowtails whose weight is about 4 kilograms or more are called “buri.” The yellowtail, a migratory fish, takes in a lot of food, growing big in the northern sea in summer, then begins to move south in late fall. In early winter, so-called “buri-okoshi,” thunders, which are accompanied by cold waves, signal the arrival of the yellowtails. Shoals of yellowtails are caught with large fixed nets called “daiboami” when they pass the Essa Straits. The best chance to capture them is when they wander deep into Ryotsu Bay to avoid rough waves. The shouts of “Big catch!” coming from the boats almost shake the beaches. Nowadays, yellowtails selected carefully by the fishermen’s excellent eye and weighing more than 10 kilograms are called “Sado Ichiban Kan-buri” (Sado’s Best Winter Yellowtails), and sold by that brand-name. Blood is drained from Sado Ichiban Kan-buri on board the fishing boats, whereupon they are immediately quick-frozen using “deep-sea water,” so they can be shipped with their freshness intact. Thick flavored Kan-buri sashimi is so fatty that soy sauce beads up on contact. It goes exceptionally well with Sado’s local sake, too. One of the recommended ways of enjoying this fresh fish is savoring it as a refreshing shabu-shabu with vegetables. Other ways of enjoying buri are as teriyaki (grilled with soy sauce) and buri-daikon (simmered with daikon radish). On the first Sunday of December, “Sado Kaifu Kan-buri Tairyo Matsuri (big catch festival)” is held at Washizaki Port, located at the northern tip of Sado where kan-buri fishing thrives. You can buy fresh yellowtail at very reasonable prices, and arajiru (soup made with the bony parts of fish) is served for free. Events like the kan-buri race, now a regular event, are popular, too. Many tourists visit the festival from both inside and outside of Sado.

Ever-popular snow crab

Crab, especially snow crab, is the king of winter flavor, representing one of the delicacies from the Sea of Japan. On Sado, crab fishing is carried out in Akadomari, the main fishing spot, and various other areas, too. In late autumn, when the fishing ban is over, basketfuls of large snow crabs are landed. It is said that snow crabs which have grown in Sado’s deep-sea water are of especially high quality and have excellent flavor. Efforts are made to keep snow crabs “alive” by making the most of Sado’s deep-sea water. They are cultivated in the deep-sea water for a short while to make them even tastier, and then shipped alive to hotels, inns and restaurants on the island. These establishments are popular as they serve exceptionally fresh and juicy, live snow crab. As female crabs are one size smaller than males, they are not on the market as often, but, they enable you to savor ovaries and fertilized eggs, delicacies unique to females, so you should not miss a chance to eat them! Black grains on the shell are eggs of Notostomum cyclostomum or “crab leeches,” and a sign that the crab is rich in flesh. Please enjoy, to your heart’s content, “authentic” snow crabs which have grown in rough seas, and are packed full of meat.

Hotels and inns which offer "live snow crab" package deals

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