Seafood & Sushi
Surrounded by three oceans, Hokkaido is a paradise for seafood. You will find fresh fish at the markets, souvenir shops, sushi restaurants and izakaya, from where it emerged sashimi (sliced raw fish), grilled, boiled or smoked, as well as sushi and kaisen-don (seafood bowl).
Seafood Markets in Hokkaido
Hakodate Morning Market (函館朝市) Dating back to post-WWII as an open-air food market, Asa-ichi (morning market) has about 280 small stores that selling fresh (but a bit pricey) seafood, such as ika (squid) and kani (crabs), from all over Hokkaido.
Nakajima Renbai (中島廉売) Hakodate’s oldest market district dating from 1934, Nakajima Renbai has a hundred of shops and stalls along the streets, busy with locals. They stocks fresh seafood, vegetables, fruits and side dishes at a reasonable price.
Nijo Ichiba (二条市場) Nijo Ichiba at the eastern end of Tanukikoji shopping arcade across Sosei-gawa is an old-time fish market for tourists, with places to try seafood bowls and pricey crabs.
Sankaku Ichiba (三角市場) A foreigner-friendly elongated seafood market immediately to the left as you exit of JR Otaru Station, you will find fresh crabs and fishes.
Washo Ichiba (和商市場) Dating back to 1954, Kushiro’s oldest market is best known for its katte-don (勝手丼: seafood bowl topped with a wide range of sashimi as you like it). Buy a rice (from ¥100) at deli at first, then choose sashimi (raw fishes: price varies) from the vendors.
It is hard to leave Hokkaido without try sushi (寿司: raw fish on or rolled vinegared rice). Toppings are called neta. Commonly an average price of sushi plate (10 or 12 pieces) run from ¥2000 at the basic sushi restaurant.
Hokkaido has a lot of family- and budget-friendly kaiten-zushi (conveyor belt chain sushi restaurants) in major cities. You can easily choice a sushi plate, order from staff or digital menu if you don’t speak Japanese. Otherwise, most local supermarkets selling affordable sushi set from around ¥600 to ¥1500.
Kaisen-don (海鮮丼: seafood bowl) is served in many seafood markets and sushi spots in Hokkaido. An average price of kaisen-don run from ¥2000 to ¥4000. Popular seafood bowls are uni-don (sea urchin on rice) and ikura-don (salmon roe on rice) anywhere.
Robata-yaki (炉端焼き: simply called robata) is a charcoal-grilled cooking of fishes and vegetables, similar to barbecue in an izakaya. The staff cook them beside the counter. There are also self-service robata-yaki restaurants and temporary tents. Kushiro is home of Hokkaido-style robata-yaki.
Fishing village’s traditional dish, chanchan-yaki (ちゃんちゃん焼き) is commonly grilled over charcoal. It is typically grilled with salmon, vegetables (green onions, cabbages and potatoes) and sauteed miso sauce. It can also be cooked with hokke (atka mackerel), scallops or squid.