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Shrimp Fishing in Hokkaido

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Shrimp Fishing in Hokkaido


Sustainable fishing using traditional utasebune boats

Hokkaido Tourism Organization



The eelgrass (a type of seaweed) grows naturally off the coast of East Hokkaido and in the waters of the Notsuke inlet and the Notsuke Bay, which are the perfect habitats and feeding grounds for a type of shrimp known as Hokkai Shimaebi. This pure and uncontaminated food source of these free-range shrimp gives 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 seafood 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, which date back over 100 years to the latter half of the 1800s, are an important part of Hokkaido’s cultural heritage, and give a great look at how fishing in Japan was done historically. 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

From Haneda Airport, take a flight to Nakashibetsu Airport (about 1 hour and 40 minutes). It is about 30 minutes by car from Nakashibetsu Airport to Notsuke Bay.


139 Odaitōshiomichō, Betsukai, Notsuke, Hokkaido


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