Konagai Oysters

11Jan 2019 tomocchi


Hello, it’s Tomocchi!☆

Oysters: the taste of winter.

Every year during the oyster season, in Konagai Town in Isahaya City, on the border between Saga Prefecture and Nagasaki and near the Ariake Sea Coast, oyster huts line National Route 207.



Rich with the bounty of the Ariake Sea, Konagai Oysters are big and juicy! They’re incredibly delicious~\(^^)/




I wanted to taste the Konagai Oysters which are in season right now!!

So, I visited the Konagai Town Fisheries Co-operative’s Direct Sales Point.



Here you buy your oysters, etc. at the direct sales point and then grill the oysters yourself at the oyster grilling hut next door.




First, buy your oysters at the direct sales point.



There are sausages, vegetables, and rice balls too!


Once you’ve paid at the cashier, you’ll get a number. The usage fee for the oyster grills is ¥500 per grill.


※Charcoal, disposable chopsticks, plates and cotton gloves are included in the price.

※Please refrain from bringing in outside drinks.

※Oyster knives can be borrowed with a ¥100 deposit that is refunded when you return the knife.



With your purchases completed, move to the oyster grilling hut next door.

Give your number to the staff and they’ll show you to an oyster grill.



There are lots of seats and grills, and from the windows, there is a sweeping view of the Ariake Sea.




Next, it’s time to charcoal grill your oysters!

Lay the oysters with the flat side down and grill for 5 minutes. As the shells snap open, you simply have to keep enjoying the umami flavor of the oysters!!!

Big and juicy, the Konagai Oysters are just the best!!!




Squeeze on some lemon, and get them down while they’re hot!! Ah, they’re just too tasty….



Konagai Oysters are sterilized by allowing them to rest for 24 hours in seawater sterilized by UV light. So, you can have no qualms about eating them grilled, or even raw.



The oyster season is from around November to March.

Why not try the “Konagai Oysters”: in season now☆




【Konagai Town Fisheries Co-operative Direct Sales Point】

Address: Konagai Town Ogawaharaura 499, Isahaya City, Nagasaki Prefecture

TEL: 0957-34-2336

Official Website: Only)




Superb Sasebo Champon – Kouran

12Dec 2018 tomocchi


Hello, it’s Tomocchi! ☆

Once again this year the season for “99 Islands Oysters” has come around!


So, I went to Kouran near Sasebo Station, which I’ve alllways wanted to visit (!), to enjoy “Champon with 99 Islands Oysters”.




Located inside the Sasebo Station building, its inside the “Rokuten-dori” restaurant street, on the left-hand-side when looking from the main entrance of the station.




With more than 40 years of history, this long-established restaurant really has the familiar charm of years gone by.

Before the rebuilding of Sasebo Station, it seems the store was previously located under the Sasebo Bus Center.




They mostly serve the “Champon” and “Sara Udon” noodle dishes.



I added an extra raw egg (+ ¥50) as a topping to the “Nagsaki Champon (¥750).

During the autumn and winter months, they also use “99 Islands Oysters”!! (and lots of them!)



The noodles are thick and firm.

Although they’re small, the creaminess of the rich and plump “99 Islands Oysters” are just to die for!

With a soup rich in the umami from the oysters, this dish has a unique appeal that’s different from the champon served in Nagasaki City.



Towards the end, I mixed in the raw egg topping for a rich taste.

I’ll be sure to go again when I’m next in Sasebo!!

You’ve got me as a repeat customer!!



【Nagasaki Champon Kouran】

Address: 21-29 Miura-cho, Sasebo-shi, Nagasaki Prefecture 〒857-0863

Opening Hours: 10:30AM to 7:30PM (Not open every day)

TEL: 0956-24-5803



Minatoya Guesthouse

15Nov 2018 tomocchi


Hello, it’s Tomocchi! ☆

This time I’m going to introduce a great place I stayed at while I was on Iki Island!♪



Minatoya Guesthouse, which opening in April 2016, is run by a married couple: an angler and an ama diver (a female diver who dives for shellfish, etc).


Making use of an almost 100-year-old building near the Ashibe Port, the heavy beams and each and every part of the design of this guesthouse, handmade by the couple and their friends, wonderfully evoke the prosperous history and atmosphere of the Ashibe Port area.




Kana Ogawa is the okami (the traditionally female landlady of a guesthouse) and an ama diver, while Ryoji Ogawa is the owner and an angler.

Kana, the okami, was originally from Rikuzentakata City in Iwate Prefecture. She moved to Nagasaki Prefecture with her family after the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake.


She wanted to try working as an ama diver, and just as she was looking into it, she heard about recruiting for ama divers in Iki from an acquaintance and decided to apply.

As an Iki City Local Vitalization Cooperator, she spent three years training to be an ama diver. During that time, she married her husband, Ryoji, an angler from Iki.


Right now, she works as an ama diver while running the guesthouse together with her husband, Ryoji.



Minatoya Guesthouse is popular and bustling with lots of regulars. There are lots of reasons for its popularity, but I think one reason is that, just as you’d expect from a guesthouse run by an angler and an ama diver, it’s a place to enjoy amazing seafood dishes!




First its time for a toast! I’m drinking Iki shochu (a local speciality with a higher alcohol content than sake) with a young man who’s come here alone from Fukuoka. Cheers~♪



Japanese Horse Mackerel sugata zukuri (sashimi arranged in the shape of the original fish) and tataki (seared sashimi).

Just what you’d expect from a guesthouse run by an angler and an ama diver! Spending time drinking Iki shochu while enjoying fresh, plump Horse Mackerel that’s just been freshly caught in the waters around Iki – truly blissful!




There’s also:

・Chicken Curry with lots of Winter Vegetables

・Fried Yellowtail Amberjack with Shio Koji (a seasoning made with salt and rice koji).

・Iki-grown Spinach & Kimchi made with Nappa Cabbage

・Spicy Potato Salad made with Iki-grown Taro Yam

And many, many more homemade dishes filled with produce from Iki keep coming, one after another!♪

Ah… the Iki shochu just keeps flowing! ☆




After the meal, relaxing on the sofa, leafing through pages of the books on the bookshelf…. there’s simply nothing more comfortable! ☆




With the day winding down, I decided to make my way to the second-floor bedrooms.

The private rooms (from ¥4,000 per person) are spacious, and the handmade interiors are just wonderful.

The dormitory (from ¥3,000 per person) is just so convenient – fully equiped with power outlet and reading lights.

The shared washroom and bathrooms also have everything you might need.



There’s also Free Wi-fi, a shared kitchen and showers.

A rental service for towels, hair dryers and washing machines are also on offer.




After a peaceful night, it was time for breakfast the next morning….. and I just couldn’t take my eyes off the giant white object that Kana was about to start slicing!!

What is it?!!

Actually, I was told it’s “Ikishu Tofu”, traditional Tofu from Iki.

It seems more than 1.5 times larger than regular tofu.

One theory is that because there are many large families in Iki, “big size” tofu like this became more and more popular.

Simple and firm, Ikishu Tofu is just packed with the umami flavor of soybeans! (*´∇`)




When it was time to leave, the okami Kana came to see me off with a cute smile!♪

“Please do come again!!”





【Minatoya Guesthouse】

Address: 258 Ashibeura, Ashibe-cho, Iki-shi, Nagasaki Prefecture 〒811-5301

Tel: 0920-40-0190

Official Website: & EN)



Hirado – Restaurant “Manpuku”

30Oct 2018 tomocchi


Hello, it’s Tomocchi! ☆

I visited the restaurant “Manpuku” in Hirado City, Nagasaki Prefecture, where you can get “Sashimi Refills”!


Let me say it again…

This might be the ONLY (!?) restaurant in Japan where you can have “Sashimi Refills”!!!



The restaurant is located in Tabira Town, Hirado City. ()You’ll find the restaurant just after you cross the Hirado Ohashi Bridge, close to the Tabira Bus Terminal and the Hirado Seto Ichiba Market.


It’s a popular restaurant where there’s always a queue to get in.

※ This time, we were permitted to visit the restaurant before it opened for the day.



The restaurant “Manpuku” is filled with fresh seafood sourced from local markets. It opened in 1980, giving it a history dating back 40 years.



The current chef is the fourth-generation proprietor. According to the owner, the seas around Hirado are well-regarded even nationally as an area where a variety of species of fish can be harvested.

The sashimi refills system started about eight years ago, in order to let people to get full by eating delicious fish from Hirado.




Here are the three menu items that allow sashimi refills:

・Matsu (upper-level) Teishoku Set Meal ¥2,200 (unlimited refills)

・Take (mid-level) Teishoku Set Meal ¥1,700 (unlimited refills)

・Low-level (Ume) Set Meal (Teishoku)  ¥1,100 (up to 2 refills permitted)




This time I ordered the Take (mid-level) Teishoku Set Meal Teishoku for ¥1,700, which has unlimited refills. There was plenty of food in addition to the sashimi, so I thought I’d be full even without a second helping! Rice and miso soup are also included with this meal.



This time, the sashimi I received were: minke whale, salmon, tuna, yellowtail amberjack, bream, and squid. Everything was fresh and delicious ♪



I was already starting to feel full, but I ordered a sashimi refill. The refills are offered one plate at a time, like this.

(As mentioned above, the Matsu and Take Teishoku Set Meals are all-you-can-eat sashimi, while the Ume Teishoku Set Meal lets you refill up to two times)



Here are the rules about the sashimi refills:

※ You may not give any sashimi to another person in your party, or leave any uneaten.

※ The sashimi varieties are decided by the chef.



The ¥1,350 Seafood Don Rice Bowl is also popular. It even looks delicious, right?



By the way, the menu is also filled with great non-seafood options, such as a Croquette Teishoku Set Meal, so even people who don’t like fish can enjoy a great meal too.




That’s right, I found a sign inside the store that says “Salad Bar – ¥50″. When I said to the owner, “A ¥50 Salad Bar – that’s too cheap!”, I found out that it was previously “Free”!

Born from a desire “to let customers eat a balanced meal with not just fish but also seasonal vegetables” at Manpuku, there is a small vegetable patch beside the restaurant. As much as possible, home-grown vegetables are used in the salad bar. The mayonaise and sauces are also home-made.




The popular “Sweet Potato Tempura” is also all-you-can-eat ☆



Make sure you go there on an empty stomach!!



After eating a filling meal at Manpuku, why not Go!Go!to the world-heritage-listed Kasuga Village or to the beautiful beaches!




【Restaurant Manpuku】

Address: 344-22 Yamauchi Men, Tabira Town, Hirado City, Nagasaki Prefecture, 859-4825

Tel: 0950-57-1788

Opening Hours: 11am ~ 9pm (Last order: until 9pm)

※There are times when the restaurant may be temporarily closed during the day.

The restaurant does not have fixed closing days, but may not operate on certain days.

※ Reservations are only accepted for group party plans




Stroll Serenely on the Sky-Blue Sea: Trying SUP for the First Time

11Sep 2018 tomocchi


Hello! It’s Tomochi☆

Summer means it’s time for marine sports!!

Why not give “SUP” at try at a beach near you?




◆SUP means…

SUP is short for “Stand Up Paddleboarding”.

Born in Hawaii, this water sport lets you have fun paddling around while standing on a board floating on the sea.

That’s why I visited the Yuki no Ura Seaside Park in Saikai City,

which has fantastic transport access from both Nagasaki AND Sasebo (just 1 hour by car from either city).



This time, I’m going to introduce ”SUP”, the much-talked-about marine sport you can try out at the Yuki on Ura Seaside Park.


“Oh, but I’ve never done a marine sport, and besides I don’t have any of the equipment…,” you might say. No problems!!

No special prep required – you can try it out in regular beachwear (swimsuit, sandals, a towel)♪




The reception desk is at

the Yuki no Ura Beach Store, a surf shop located in Ōseto Town, Saikai City, along National Route 202.

<Cost: Both SUP and Surfing cost ¥4000 each (about 2 hours, including rental)>



Once you’ve signed in, it’s time to Go! Go! to the Yuki no Ura Seaside Park!

The sun hits the water’s surface and makes it sparkle – it’s so beautiful!!

Yuki no Ura Seaside Park is enclosed by a bay, so the waves are relatively calm.




Yuki no Ura Seaside Park is well-equipped with toilets and coin-operated showers.



Listen to a lecture from your instructor

about how to stand and use the paddle, and then let’s paddle out into the blue sea!



Until you’re used to it, you might fall into the sea again and again,

but don’t worry: your instructor is there to help.

Once you’ve got the hang of it, even beginners will say

“Finally! I’m standing!!!”



Paddle right and left, and stroll smoothly on the sea♪



As you start to get the hang of it, SUP gets more and more fun.

If the sea and weather conditions are good, you may even be able to paddle into the Yuki no Ura River.

With fantastic access from both Nagasaki and Sasebo, why not enjoy SUP in Saikai?





Cost: Both SUP and Surfing cost ¥4000 (about 2 hours/incudes rental)

Period: Year-round (Depending on weather conditions, there may be days when the experience is not possible).

Contact info: Yuki no Ura Beach Store Phone: 090-8910-9001 (Mr./Ms. Kusahara)


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