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2014 Yokosuka Sakana Matsuri

The Yokosuka Sakana Matsuri is a fun festival for the whole family to learn about this vital sea port.

By 4 min read 2

Have you ever seen a huge tuna carved, in real life? How about a live Japanese fish auction, just like you’ve watched on television? At the Yokosuka Sakana Matsuri, you can see these events and more as the city celebrates its annual “Yokosuka Fish Festival.”

Of course, we’ve all heard about the famous Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo, but not as many are aware of the Yokosuka Fish Market and Port Market that provide a large source of seafood to the surrounding areas throughout Kanagawa. Various parts of Yokosuka Port bring in タコ ([taco] octopus), イワシ ([iwashi] sardines), サバ ([saba] mackerel), and of course のり ([nori] seaweed).

This relatively small port has become a provider of these staples in the Kanagawa diet, and the Fish Festival at Yokosuka Fish Market is an excellent chance to take a first-hand look at how they do it.

The Japanese do love their festivals. When you enter this one, you may be surprised at the size of the festival area compared to others held in Japan, but will be amazed at what they can pack into this relatively small space. You’ll find shows, food, and games for the family. If you speak Japanese, there is even a class available on how to accurately judge a fish’s quality. In addition, you can hear the “fish market band” from 9:00-9:45 while you let the kids play in the pool with the sharks. Don’t worry; they won’t bite.

pool

At 10:10am, the real fun begins. Bystanders watch while a professional fish carver dismantles a large tuna, in a performance-like event. Afterward, the tuna will be displayed on a large table for all to see up close and personal, and even take pictures if you like. Then the much anticipated fish auction begins at 11:00am. Its easy to see that its about to start by the hoard of people gathering around in the warehouse. Expect to suddenly hear an outcry of Japanese auctioneers, followed by the people going crazy over buying the auctioned fish. What’s interesting about this auction isn’t as much the noise, however, but the presentation. It’s an amazing sight to see how the Japanese market workers take enough time to present a beautiful mountain of fish, ice, and seaweed. This truly makes the bidders want to buy, and lets visitors in on a bit of the Japanese culture.

You can also buy regular seafood or dried food items that are sold by local vendors throughout the warehouse. All of the items sold at the festival are locally caught and grown, encouraging the community to buy local, eat local. They cook fresh and sell various kinds of dishes from soba to fish burgers, and will all the grilled sides you’re sure to find something you like to eat. And don’t forget to stop by the booth that sells pacific saury fish, or さんま, from 7:00am. All proceed from the sales will be donated to the Great East Japan Earthquake Japan Disaster Relief charity, so you know its going to a much needed cause.

This year, they even have the new “dollar exchange program.” This is designed for Americans living in the area who have US dollars that they would like to spend instead of yen. The rate is 100¥=1$, and is accepted throughout the festival. And if you’re just wanting to have fun using USD for a change, I recommend exchanging your yen at the Lucky Exchange above the 7/11, about a 5-minute walk from the Yokosuka Port Market, or 8 minute walk from Yokosuka Chuo Station.

When you’re done touring the festival and have a full stomach, head over the Yokosuka Port Market that only recently opened in 2013. This is the permanent market set up where you can buy an even broader selection of local items, or try their delicious gelato and something from their restaurant. The Yokosuka Sakana Matsuri, along with this location, give a “down home” feel to the fish market scene that is typically only part of Tokyo city life. Take a trip to experience more Japanese memories you’re sure not to forget.

ACCESS:

October 5th, 2014
From 7:00am-12:00pm
横須賀市平成町3-5-1

This event is FREE!

Tokyo to Yokosuka Chuo station: 63 minutes, 830¥
Tokyo to Horinouchi station: 62 minutes, 900¥
Buses run from Yokosuka Chuo Station to the Yokosuka Fish Festival every 10 minutes from 6:30am-12:30pm. Or, take a 9 minute walk from Horinouchi station.

http://cocoyoko.net/event/docs/sakanamaturi2014.pdf

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  • iluisa u. tarlit says:

    I wanted to go but i am far from yokosuka! I am here at hamamatsu shi Shizouka Pref. how i love fish but then im far from it.

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