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Updated:April 18, 2019

Seafood

Surrounded by the ocean in three directions, the 530-km coastline is rich in variations, and on the Pacific coast where the Black Current and the Kurile Current meet, various types of fish and shellfish that inhabit warm currents and cold currents are caught. In Tokyo Bay, a long bay with calm waves, short-neck clams and high-quality laver can be harvested. The ocean surrounding Chiba prefecture is a treasure house of seafood.

Red sea bream

Sea bream is a fish essential for celebratory occasions, as a symbol of good luck. Related legends and such make Chiba prefecture strongly associated with sea breams – in fact, the sea bream is designated as the prefecture fish. Being a white fish with firm and sweet flesh, red sea bream is used for a wide range of dishes, such as sashimi, grilled fish, and clear soup. The main fishing grounds are the Choshi, Uchibo, and Sotobo areas.

* The photograph shows “sea bream sashimi.”

Bonito

Bonito that swim up north and come to the Japanese coast in spring are called Hatsugatsuo [first bonito of the season], and they have been long enjoyed since the Edo era. Katsuura fishing harbor is a representative production area. The fresher the fish, the clearer the stomach vertical stripes are, creating a gauge for freshness. The flesh is red and its rich texture is enjoyed; it is tasty as sashimi or lightly roasted, dried and grated, or boiled in square pieces with soy sauce.

* The photograph shows “Western-style lightly roasted bonito.”

Short-neck clam

Short-neck clams abundantly inhabit the tidal land of a long bay, and “clam gathering” is also enjoyed by many visitors. When plankton, which clams feed on, rise in number in the spring, clams become fat and in season. Short-neck clam is widely used for cooking, such as for miso soup, clam steamed with sake, rice dish, tempura, and butter-cooked clam. The main fishing area is the Tokyo Bay region from Ichikawa city to Futtsu city.

* The photograph shows “Asari Futtsu-don [rice topped with short-neck clam in a bowl].”

Spotlined sardine

Sardine, which has long been enjoyed as one of Chiba’s representative fish, is eaten raw as sashimi or as vinegared fish. Also, there are many processed products using sardine, such as minced fish, fish dried whole, and canned food, presenting diversified tastes. The main fishing areas are the Choshi and Kujukuri regions. Furthermore, Chiba prefecture has the largest water uptake of anchovy, a family of sardine, in all of Japan. It is used in various ways, such as fish pickled with black sesame seeds, and dried fish.

* The photograph shows “sardine fishcake soup.”

Abalone

Abalone is a marine snail, and there are three types in Chiba prefecture: Haliotis discus discus, Haliotis gigantean, and Haliotis madaka. Abalone lives on reef where there is abundant seaweed, and it is harvested mainly by divers. In Chiba prefecture, abalone is plentiful in the Sotobo area, and it can be enjoyed as sashimi, steamed with sake, or even steak. Dried abalone is valued as a high-class ingredient for Chinese cuisine.

* The photograph shows “rice topped with abalone and other seafood in a bowl.”

Lobster

Chiba prefecture is the No.1 lobster production area in Japan. Having vivid colors and a splendid look, lobster has been an essential item of festivities since long ago. The main production area is the Sotobo region from Isumi city to Minamiboso city. Lobster is caught using a gill net or the like. It can be cooked in various ways but to enjoy its beauty, try it as sashimi or grilled in two halves.

* The photograph shows “rice topped with lobster in a bowl.”

Kinmedai (Beryx splendes)

Kinmedai is a fish with vivid colors, a vermeil body and golden eyes. The main fishing area in Chiba prefecture is in the offing of Choshi, Katsuura, and Tateyama. Kinmedai is fished up by vertical net fishing from 100 to 500m deep. The flesh is white, and popular ways of cooking include boiling with soy sauce or as a hotpot, sashimi, and sushi, or even with rice with the whole fish. Shabushabu has recently become a new way of enjoying Kinmedai.

* The photograph is “steamed Kinmedai with a whole egg.”

Saury

Saury is a fish that represents autumn. Harvesting starts in mid-August, in the area from Minamichishima to the offing of Hokkaido. In late autumn, saury gradually swim down south, making the offing of Choshi a new fishing ground. Saury, salted and grilled, cooked with soy sauce, or dried and grilled, is delicious – eating a fresh one as sashimi is exceptional.

Mackerel

Mackerel comes in two types: chub mackerel, and southern mackerel, which has a round body and spots on the abdomen. Mackerel in season is fatty and delicious. Grilled, boiled, vinegared, or dried – its unique flavor can be enjoyed in various ways.

Yellowtail

Yellowtail is named differently in Japanese, according to growth phases and different areas – “Wakashi,” “Inada,” “Warasa,” and “Buri,” in the Kanto area, for example. In Chiba prefecture, yellowtail is caught mainly in the phases of Inada and Warasa. Being fatty and tasty especially in the winter, yellowtail is outstanding not only as sashimi, but also grilled or boiled.

Flounder

Well-known as a high-class white fish. Especially in the winter, flounder is delicious due to its firm flesh and extra fattiness. Commonly served raw, as sashimi or sushi.