A high-class fish known as ‘fugu’ (pufferfish). As it is a poisonous fish, the eating of fugu has a long history of being banned in Japan, and even now can only be prepared by those certified to do so. However, properly prepared fugu has a refreshing taste that slightly tingles the tongue. In the main harvesting centers of Yamaguchi Prefecture and the Kyushu region, fugu is known as ‘fuku’ and considered lucky, as ‘fuku’ is synonymous with the Japanese word for good fortune.
Tamaya offers full course meals featuring fresh fugu. You can enjoy the extravagant taste of fugu prepared in various ways, such as raw, as sushi, or deep-fried. The salt-grilled fugu roe is especially recommended. Unlike fugu cooked in a pot, salt-grilling produces a fragrant surface and soft interior texture.
An original dish, ‘fugu gratin’, can be eaten only at Tamaya and perfectly combines fugu meat with butter. Why not sample a variety of exquisite and rare dishes in the relaxed atmosphere of a Japanese-style tatami room? Dried and baked fugu fins are also sold as souvenirs.
Directly in front of the Kanmon Straits and Akama-jingu Shrine lies Kappo Otomi. Feel the sweep of the tides from every seat in the restaurant, and enjoy the seasonal cooking made with natural ingredients, as well as the scenery. You can sample not only fugu, but also a variety of traditional Japanese kaiseki course meals.
Gaze out at the ships passing through the straits as you enjoy plenty of colorfully garnished fugu cuisine—this is beauty to be truly fascinated by. Your heart will surely be satisfied by dining on the fruits of the ocean in this traditional Japanese interior.
The long ban on fugu cuisine was lifted for the city of Shimonoseki by the first prime minister of Japan, Prince Ito Hirobumi, in 1888. Shunpanro was the first restaurant to receive official permission to serve fugu. The chrysanthemum-arranged slices of fugu are cut so thinly that the pattern of the plate can be seen beneath. This is a long-standing traditional Shunpanro technique that has been passed down for 140 years.
Shunpanro, in cooperation with local fish markets, conducts thorough production control measures to ensure the safety of both its natural and farmed pufferfish. The Shimonoseki main restaurant also provides accommodation that includes fugu course meals, so you can appreciate Shimonoseki while in the building where Emperor Hirohito once stayed.
Photos courtesy of: Tamaya, Kappo Otomi, Shunpanro
This information is current as of October 18, 2019 and may be subject to change without notice. For further details and the latest information, please inquire directly to the relevant establishments.