Shimane’s Lake Shinji is notable for being a brackish water lake, where freshwater mixes with seawater from the Sea of Japan. As a result, it is blessed with abundant aquatic life, and these delicacies give the local cuisine an unmistakably distinct quality. If you’re a seafood connoisseur, it’s worth taking a trip to Shimane just to sample these seven delights!
#1: Japanese seabass (suzuki)
Japanese legend has it that this fish, a symbol of Izumo, was once served at a feast of the gods, and it’s easy to see why. Bursting with flavor from the fat it takes on when the waters chill in late fall and early winter, it is steamed and served whole in all its glory, truly a delight for the senses.
#2: Japanese icefish (shirauo)
So pure as to be almost transparent and so bursting with flavor that it can bring out a rich broth all by itself, the Japanese icefish from Matsue City in Shimane have long been a delicacy beloved across the nation.
#3: Japanese carp (koi)
Thinly sliced and served tossed with its own eggs together with a sake and plum-based dipping sauce, koi sashimi is a true regional delicacy that has historically been served to emperors and shoguns.
#4: Freshwater eel (unagi)
The eel of Lake Shinji have remarkably firm and meaty flesh, making them perfectly suited to be grilled kabayaki style, with a sweet soy sauce-based glaze. A summer delight.
#5: Sand prawns (moroge-ebi)
One variety of the Japanese tiger prawn, these are no mere “shrimp” as they can grow to nearly ten centimeters. With few strings and thin shells, they can be enjoyed whole. Freshest in the fall.
#6: Lake smelt (amasagi)
Freshest in their spawning season from January to March, these small fish are simply sublime in tempura, or marinated and fried nanban-style.
#7: Freshwater clam (shijimi)
Best enjoyed in the spring, these large, succulent clams make for a richly-flavored broth that’s loaded with nutrients that can ease an ailing liver.
Airport: Izumo Airport