Visit the local fishing port when you travel.
When you travel to ONSEN place, I would recommend you to visit the local fishing port nearby or on the way. Since Japan is an island country surrounded by the sea, there are so many local fishing ports throughout Japan. Although SASHIMI (raw fish) and SUSHI served at the city restaurant are also tasty enough, the taste of super fresh seafood at the fishing port is really unbelievable. You can taste the fish which has just been unloaded in the early morning.
Most of the local fishing port have shopping streets where a lot of seafood restaurants and retail shops are lined up.
Try NUMAZU Fishing Port
IZU Peninsula (SHIZUOKA Prefecture) has a lot of attractiveness such as ONSEN places, beautiful ocean, nature, variety of local foods and specialties. 沼津 (NUMAZU) is a gateway city of this IZU Peninsula and you can reach NUMAZU by SHINKANSEN and local train in a little over an hour from Tokyo. Or if you want to drive there, it takes 2 hours from Tokyo by using TOMEI Expressway.
My recommendation is to get there by SHINKANSEN and local train first, then rent a car at NUMAZU Station, so that you can move around the city flexibly. It is absolutely fantastic to drive around IZU Peninsula starting from here.
The highlight of NUMAZU City is “沼津漁港 (NUMAZU GYOKO / NUMAZU Fishing Port)”. There is a street named “沼津港飲食店街 (NUMAZU MINATO INSHOKU TEN GAI / NUMAZU Port Restaurants Street)” and there are more than 70 retail shops and restaurants in this street.
Retail shops are selling various kinds of raw fish and dried fish which were unloaded at the port. Actually, more than 1000 kinds of fish are unloaded at NUMAZU Port including 鰹 (KATSUO / Bonito), 鯖 (SABA / Mackerel), 鰺 (AJI / Horse mackerel), 金目鯛 (KIN ME DAI / Red snapper), しらす (SHIRASU / Baby sardine), 桜えび (SAKURA EBI / Sakura shrimp), and so on. What I would like to recommend you the most is 鯵の干物 (AJI NO HIMONO / Dried horse mackerel). Actually NUMAZU Port has the largest catch of horse mackerel in Japan, and it is actually very tasty. Generally Japanese people love to eat 干物 (HIMONO / dried fish) in the daily lives because it keeps well and it is very good to have with rice. If you come to this port, it is good for you to buy some dried fish for your souvenir so that you can taste it at home.
Amazing restaurant MARUTEN
Talking about the restaurants, the most famous and popular restaurant which you should definitely visit is “魚河岸丸天 (UOGASHI MARUTEN)”. This MARUTEN restaurant has a long history since its opening in 1966, and has attracted a lot of local people as well as visitors. They started their operation as a SOBA noodle restaurant located in front of NUMAZU Station. Their philosophy has been to serve substantial meal in a reasonable price to local fishermen and people working at the market. Now they have come to serve local seafood, and not only local people but also many visitors come here to taste their amazing foods.
The signature menu of MARUTEN restaurant is 海鮮かき揚げ丼 (KAISEN KAKIAGE DON). It is a rice bowl topped with mixed seafood TEMPURA. What is special about this is that the size of this TEMPURA is super huge!! Look at this!!
How photogenic this TEMPURA is!! It looks like a tower and I couldn’t even imagine how to eat it. What I ordered was just that TEMPURA without rice because I wanted to order some other things as well.
This is 釜揚げシラス丼 (KAMA AGE SHIRASU DON) which is a rice bowl topped with whitebait simply scalded. The meal comes with あら汁 (ARA JIRU) which is a miso soup made from the boiling leftover fish scraps. This ARA JIRU has nice flavour and deep taste of seafood.
These are very big fried shrimps.
Now, this is the other signature menu of this restaurant, 丸天丼 (MARUTEN DON). This is a rice bowl topped with 8 kinds of super fresh SASHIMI (raw fish).
It was really really satisfying meal which I will never forget.
If you have a plan to visit IZU Peninsula, NUMAZU is definitely the place you must not miss.