This was the day I ate more fish than I ever did in my entire life.
So… the first time I went finishing was in Nagasaki last year. Junya, although being really thoughtful for the fishes’ feelings, really enjoyed it. He wanted to do it again so we went for a little weekend trip at Atami, Shizuoka prefecture, which we thought was a perfect getaway – sunshine, beaches, sea and onsen. And lots of fish.
If you haven’t already known, Atami is probably one of the most popular vacation spots for Tokyoites to escape the city a little, being in close proximity to the metropolis and boasting lots of hot spring resorts close by the beach.
We took the wheels but if you don’t drive, here’s the nearest train station called Ajiro Station, under just one hour from Shinagawa Station with minimal transit, if you take the Shinkansen! That’s much, much faster than driving, to be honest. Even the local train which is much cheaper gets you there under 2 hours.
The is the fishing place we went, it’s totally walkable from the train station (under 10 minutes).
Note that the cost for fishing is actually not cheap, however if you are looking for some family fun it’s actually pretty worth it since you can bring home all your catch.
The family course is JPY6,000 for one fishing rod, you can bring as many family members as you like and share with rods together but it costs JPY1,000 of entrance fee for any extra members.
First of all you will go on a little boat to the floating fishing spot in the middle of the sea.
The little ones will be wearing a life jacket, and don’t forget sunblock and hats since there’s no shade.
Here we are!
There are two ponds – the tai pond and the aji pond. You are allowed to fish a total of 2 tai (sea bream) and 5 aji (horse mackerel). Since all the fishies are already pre-caught in a giant net, it’s extremely easy to fish them. Which is why I think this is the perfect spot for beginners and total kid-friendly.
The level difficulty is… Level Junya haha.
When you are surrounded by fishing pros (which is unlikely because they will totally be elsewhere, this is like the baby pool for olympic swimmers) or many other visitors, it could be tricky to get the fishies to swim close by, but the very friendly and helpful ojisan on site will be more than happy to throw “special bait” to lure all the fishes your way.
And usually once the bait is in, it takes literally like 10 seconds to get one hooked. Even Junya caught it multiple times, just that he needed some help to get bigger, wiggly fishes out of the water.
Ojisan loves little children. He loves getting scaredy kiddos to touch/hold the fish and have their photos taken.
Junya’s first shot with his catch!!
Scaredy Sakuwa holds the fish tail HAHAHAHA.
Once you are happy and done with your prize in the bucket, you can either bring all your rewards back for a home-cooked feast, or you can just pass them to the restaurant operated by the same company (the same place where you do your registration and payment) for a gourmet experience.
Note that the cooking costs extra, from JPY500 for the smaller horse mackerel to JPY1500 for the massive sea bream. But… unless you are a ryotei master, I recommend you to have them served by the kitchen pros. Trust me, that’s actually the best part of our experience.
There is a menu for you to choose how you want your fish to be cooked – freshly sliced as sashimi, simmered, grilled, fried…
I mean… just look at Junya. He was basically drunk from yumminess.
If you are uncertain about the way of cooking, I recommend you to go for deep-fried aji fish, It was so crispily delish that I devoured the entire fish head to tail. I mean, that’s probably the best way to appreciate a life you have just taken – waste nothing and give thanks – itadakimasu.
In fact we miss the taste of our beautiful lunch so much we actually went back the second day for the same experience – this time with extra crispily deep-fried aji. The kids were so happy. Sakura particularly loved the sea bream simmered in sweet sauce (鯛の煮付け). Pour the sweet sauce over rice and you can eat a whole bowl of it!
Take a stroll around Ajiro
Did you know? The name Ajiro (網代) literally means “wickerwork net”, used for fishing, indicating how authentic a fishing spot it has been since the start!
Honestly there isn’t much to explore around Ajiro, other than taking a stroll at the beach, visiting some alleyway old shops and of course, enjoy the onsen. But that’s exactly what makes this little fishing town so quiet and relaxing, away from all the crazy Tokyo-buzz.
It was really nice to just take a stroll along the port, feeling the sunset breeze.
This was the ryokan we stayed at, right in front of the fishing port.
Although it’s been 75 years since its establishment, the ryokan feels pretty new probably due to recent renovation. Love love love the view from room window!
Looking out to the Sagami Bay.
“Gensen kakenagashi” (源泉掛け流し) – flowing hotspring directly from the source is the ryokan’s proud selling point. Here you get to enjoy several private hotspring overlooking the ocean with non-recycled spring water flowing out right from the source of spring.
As with most ryokan, dinner was absolutely worth looking forward to!
Given how much fish I have just had at Taikoubou Fishing, I was really hoping for something non-pescatarian but… I guess the specialty of Izu – kinmedai shabu shabu, is hard to resist. (Also, to combat covid-19 crisis, they actually offered double the usual amount of kinmedai fish as a value-add for their guests T___T.)
Fish fish fish fish…
So yea, that concludes the special day where I ate the most fish in my entire life.
If you have some extra time to spare, consider visiting the Atami Castle built on top of the hill! Wait… not a fan of historical stuff? No worries! Atamai Castle is actually built purely for leisure, not a real castle. You may find even adult-themed museum there. Just… make sure you don’t drag the kids in.
Thanks for reading again. Till next time!