Hokkaido’s Harvest Scenery: Autumn Edition
Hokkaido is known as Japan's food base, and is a treasure trove of a wide variety of foods, such as agricultural and livestock products, seafood, wine, sake and beer.
Autumn – from September to November – is the harvest season for fruits, potatoes and other root vegetables, rice, buckwheat and the like. It is also when marine products such as salmon and Pacific saury are landed.
We have gathered together some ‘taste of autumn’ harvest scenery, much anticipated by the people of Hokkaido.
Autumn mantis-shrimp fishing season begins in Otaru
The seasonal ban on autumn mantis-shrimp fishing was lifted along the coast of the city of Otaru in central Hokkaido, and the first auction was held at the Otaru City Fisheries Cooperative Regional Wholesale Market on October 18. At fishing ports in the city, freshly caught mantis shrimps were removed from the nets and boiled in salt in large cauldrons.
Fishing began on October 15, and a total of 61 vessels belonging to the Otaru City Fisheries Cooperative will continue to operate until December 10. Manabu Narita, a fisherman from the Takashima district of the city left the port in the early hours of the 18th. After pulling up the gill nets that had been set in waters one or two kilometers offshore, he landed approximately 50 kg of mantis shrimp measuring 15 to 20 cm in length. It is said that mantis shrimps are more likely to get caught in the nets when the sea is rough. “I caught more than I expected thanks to yesterday’s swell caused by the strong wind,” said Narita. “As it gets colder they will become more and more delicious, so I really want people to try them.”
On the morning of the 18th, approximately 500 kg of mantis shrimp, landed the day before, were put up at the first auction of the season at the Otaru City Fisheries Cooperative Regional Wholesale Market. Mantis shrimp fishing in Otaru is carried out twice a year – in spring and autumn; in autumn the flesh is said to be firmer and tastier than in spring.
It has been determined that the ‘Otaru Shako (Mantis shrimp) Festival’, held in the city every November, will – like last year – be canceled this year to prevent the further spread of the infections from Coronavirus.