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Fugu Blowfish

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Fugu Blowfish


A gourmet delicacy to be enjoyed all year round in Japan’s fugu capital, Shimonoseki

Shimonoseki City, Yamaguchi Prefecture


Fugu blowfish is toxic if cut the wrong way, and only registered chefs with special licenses can prepare fugu. Eating fugu was outlawed in the 16th century, but the ban was first lifted in Shimonoseki by order of Hirobumi Ito, Japan’s first prime minister and Yamaguchi native. Even today, Shimonoseki is the largest fugu producer in Japan. Yamaguchi’s Haedomari Market is the only market that specializes in fugu. Only fugu properly processed here can receive the coveted ‘Shimonoseki’ brand designation. Although offerings differ from place to place, a full course typically features an exquisitely arranged platter of sashimi, which is dipped in a tangy ponzu sauce, fried fugu, fugu hot pot, fugu rice porridge and hirezake, hot sake made with grilled fugu fin. Fugu comes into season in the winter, but it is available in Shimonoseki year-round. Fun fact: In the local dialect, fugu are called ‘fuku’, which happens to be the same word for luck.


How to get there


Take the Shinkansen bullet train from Hakata Station to Kogura Station, which takes about 15 minutes. Then, take the train from Kogura Station to Shimonoseki Station, which takes about 15 minutes. From Shimonoseki Station, take the bus to Watase, which takes about 20 minutes. Haedomari Market is a 10-minute walk from the bus station.


5-10-1 Hikoshima Nishiyama-cho, Shimonoseki-shi, Yamaguchi-ken


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