Shrimp Fishing in Hokkaido
Sustainable fishing using traditional utasebune boats
Hokkaido Tourism Organization
The eelgrass (a type of seaweed) which grows naturally off the coast of East Hokkaido and in the waters of the Notsuke inlet and the Notsuke Bay is the perfect habitat and feeding ground for a type of shrimp known as Hokkai Shimaebi. This pure and uncontaminated food source of these free-range shrimp give them their unique, sweet taste.
Regular surveys are carried out to protect the natural habitat of the ocean and prevent overfishing of the Hokkai Shimaebi. The data is used to decide the amount of shrimp which can be sustainably fished that year, making opportunities to taste this rare delicacy quite scarce. Fishing for Hokkai Shimaebi can only be carried out twice a year, in the early summer and autumn.
The boats used for fishing Hokkai Shimaebi are called utasebune. These traditional boats, the use of which dates back over 100 years to the latter half of the 1800s, are an important part of Hokkaido’s cultural heritage. Using triangular shaped jib sails, the boats are propelled entirely by wind power. With no propeller, the boat’s design prevents damage to the eelgrass which inhabits the shallow waters of the Notsuke Bay.
How to get there
30 minutes by car from Nakashibetsu Airport to Notsuke Bay.