Kashi-no-Ichi: An uncrowded fish market in a beautiful Japanese port
Stars and Stripes | .
published: September 07, 2016
At Kashi-no-Ichi, a bustling fish market not far from Mount Fuji, visitors can taste fresh, delicious seafood on the docks of Shimizu, one of Japan’s most scenic seaports.
The still, deep waters contrast perfectly with the slopes of Fuji — Japan’s tallest peak — which drops off gracefully toward the coast to the north.
The market isn’t far from Tokyo, but when venturing to Shizuoka Prefecture on the other side of the mountain, it feels like you’re on a different island from the capital and its sprawl of high-rises.
Kashi-no-Ichi is a longer drive or train ride for U.S. personnel than Tokyo’s famous Tsukiji, the world’s largest wholesale fish market, but it’s also a lot less crowded. Shimizu, near the large city of Shizuoka, is said to be one of the three most beautiful ports in Japan, along with Kobe and Nagasaki.
Fishermen land more tuna at Shimizu than anywhere else in Japan, and about half of all tuna consumed in the country is caught there. The port is also famous for small sakura, ebi (sakura shrimp) and shirasu (whitebait).
Kashi-no-Ichi is housed in two buildings. The Maguro-kan (tuna building) is devoted to restaurants, while the Ichiba-kan (market building) includes shops and restaurants.
Wholesalers in Shimizu want “people to be able to get their hands on fresh and tasty fish easily,” says the fish market’s website. Each year, more than a million people visit the market, which serves as “the local kitchen of Shimizu port.”
The market is a great place to pick up some fresh fish to eat at home, though the restaurants serve plenty of local fare, including large portions of sashimi (raw fish) served in baskets shaped like wooden ships.
Visitors to the fish market can park free for a half-hour. Those who spend more than 500 yen at the market can park free for an hour and a half, and those who eat at the restaurants can park for even longer at no charge.