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Pufferfish Cuisine in Shimonoseki

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Pufferfish Cuisine in Shimonoseki


Savor the unique taste of pufferfish, one of Japan's culinary highlights 

SETOUCHI Tourism Authority


What do you think of when you hear the words "Japanese food"? Sushi, tempura, soba, or ramen? This time, we would like to introduce you to the lesser-known pufferfish cuisine. Also known as blowfish or fugu, pufferfish is a highly poisonous fish and pufferfish cuisine is very rare in the world, but in Japan it is a very popular and expensive dish.


The home of pufferfish cuisine is Shimonoseki City in Yamaguchi Prefecture. Located on the westernmost tip of Honshu, the main island of Japan, Shimonoseki boasts the world's largest volume of pufferfish handled. Nowadays, with the development of distribution, pufferfish cuisine is available all over Japan, but if you want to experience this delicacy at its freshest and most delicious, you should definitely pay a visit to Shimonoseki, Japan's “Pufferfish Capital”.



The best season to enjoy pufferfish in Shimonoseki is from November to February. From high-class restaurants to reasonably priced izakaya (Japanese style casual dining bars), you will be able to taste a variety of pufferfish dishes at a wide range of venues. Only certified chefs with years of rigorous training are allowed to prepare these dishes, so you can rest assured that they are safe to eat.



A family-run restaurant on the banks of the Kanmon Straits, Heike Chaya has been serving pufferfish for three generations. Enjoy the various preparations available on the menu, which include sashimi, deep fried karaage, and hot pot, and savor the unique taste of pufferfish as you take in beautiful views of the Kanmon Straits and the iconic Kanmon Bridge. Of course, sushi and tempura are Japanese dishes you should try when in Japan, but Shimonoseki’s pufferfish is also worth a trip!





How to get there


From Kokura Station in Kitakyushu, take a train to Shimonoseki Station (15 minutes), then a bus to Mimosusogawa stop (12 minutes), and walk 1 minute to Heike Chaya. 


1-1 Mimosusogawa-cho, Shimonoseki-shi, Yamaguchi-ken



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