Condensing natural savoury flavour, toba-making peaks

Spin-drying fish on a machine to make toba

Amidst plentiful akisake salmon harvesting in the Sea of Japan, north Hokkaido’s Usuya area in Obira Town with its line-up of fishery-owned shops is seeing a peak in “toba” making, wherein raw salmon is hung on electric rotators in a rotation-drying process.
These machines that fishers call “kuru-kuru” (spinners) reportedly became popular as a fly and crow countermeasure starting a little over a decade ago. With the abundance of salmon and the dryness of the air, this season is perfect for making toba. Even still, raw salmon prepared through methods like marinating in brine must be spin-dried day and night for up to one week to be successfully dried.
In the Usuya area, about five to six shops make toba in front of the premises, and drying machines are often used at seafood processing plants that produce in mass quantities.


Usuya area in Obira Town