3 Must-Eat Sushi/Kaisendon Shops in Hokkaido’s Port Town of Rumoi
Rumoi, a city that once flourished thanks to herring fishing, still counts kazunoko (herring roe) as one of its top locally produced specialties. If you stroll aimlessly in the heart of the city center that is pretty near JR Rumoi Station, you are bound to see the signboards of sushi shops here and there. So, how about going on a seafood trip in Rumoi? Below are three carefully chosen restaurants in Rumoi that offer fresh seafood from the nearby seas at truly affordable prices.
Janome: The oldest sushi shop in Rumoi that opened in 1953 for the common folk
Janome is a well-established shop where Masayuki Mori, the third-generation sushi chef, is the one who manages the cooking and the dishes that are served. Its motto since it first opened its doors to the public has always been to “fill people with delicious dishes at low prices”. Holding brokering and trading rights, this shop capitalizes on its ability to directly source seafood from the wholesale market, which then enables it to offer customers a serving of nigiri (hand-formed sushi) that is good for one person for as low as 480 JPY (excl. tax) for regular toppings and 2,000 JPY for the most premium sushi toppings. You will be able to savor toppings made from the freshest seafood from the coastal waters to your heart’s content. This restaurant continues to be loved by the locals as a sushi shop for the common folk that they can go to every day, and is also famous among expat families and tourists.
The specialty of this restaurant is the Janome Special (2,500 JPY, excl. tax). Mixing premium and regular toppings, this set will let you enjoy around 21 pieces of hand- formed sushi. It is a great-value set packed with different sushi pieces created by Janome that will give you a taste of the best things that this shop has to offer. You must order this when you get hungry and you want to indulge in sushi. For those who love kaisendon (bowl of rice topped with seafood sashimi), then the most recommended item on the menu for you is the Kyoku-tokujo Chirashi (a set of sushi with a variety of toppings) (2,200 JPY, excl. tax) that will surely satisfy in terms of quality and quantity.
Tampopo: A conveyor belt sushi restaurant that offers high-quality sushi with local toppings
“The customers in Rumoi, a town of fishermen, will not come if the only thing you have to offer is that your prices are cheap,” said Hiroshi Hashizume, the owner of Tampopo who is also a sushi chef that honed his skills for 20 years at a sushi joint in Tokyo. Representing the sole conveyor belt sushi restaurant within the Rumoi vicinity, Tampopo is a place where the sushi pieces use ingredients handpicked by Hashizume from the bountiful waters of Rumoi. It is a luxurious restaurant where customers are told to “order what they want to eat since the conveyor does not really go around all that much.”
A plate of nigiri sushi costs 140 JPY (excl. tax). Recommended are the Taisho Omakase 7-Kan Nigiri (7 pieces of sushi that will be chosen by the chef) (950 JPY, excl. tax), as well as the Kaisendon Set that is only available at 11:00 am to 2:00 pm on weekdays.
More than anything, what you shouldn’t miss are the local toppings. The natural flounders caught in the Rumoi coastal waters and the oysters of Yamada Suisan from the neighboring town of Usutani, Obira are thick-cut and tender to chew. The octopus from Mashike-based Hamasui that is boiled until soft has a tender and crunchy texture (each of the dishes costs 300 JPY, excl. tax). Meanwhile, the homemade Shime Saba (vinegared mackerel) (260 JPY, excl. tax) that is prepared by Hashizume is an exquisite dish. Now if the Kawahagi (filefish) (260 JPY, excl. tax) with fat is available, you have to order that, too.
Tomimaru: Overwhelming kaisendon with all toppings on the display case
Tomimaru is a lodging facility and restaurant operated by a fisherman from neighboring Mashike that takes pride in its flavors. Here, you can taste sushi, donburi (rice bowls), sashimi and ala carte dishes that make full use of the fresh fruits of the sea from the nearby waters. The jumbo dishes that were born from the owner’s desire to have customers heartily taste its sushi are this restaurant’s specialties. In particular, the kaisendon called Tomimaru-don (3,240 JPY) and rolled sushi dish called Tomimaru Nama Futomaki (thick-rolled sushi) (2,160 JPY) are dishes that use all the toppings available inside the toppings display case, representing a couple of dishes that are filled with the spirit of Tomimaru. The Sushi Lunch Set (1,080 JPY) and other sets and dishes that are only available during lunch on weekdays are also recommended.
The sushi bowl with a diameter of 21cm is heaped with sushi rice mixed with tobikko (flying fish roe), and then generously sprinkled with uni (sea urchin), awabi (abalone), ikura (salmon roe) and other high-priced fresh toppings one after another, in a sloping manner. The kaisendon has 15 – 16 toppings, measures 18cm tall and weighs 2kg. While the general rule here is that customers order for one person, you can order ala carte dishes that are good for several people and then share the Tomimaru-don.
The three spots featured here are restaurants in Rumoi that are highly recommended if you are craving for fresh marine products that anybody can expect to find in a port town! The dishes come in huge servings, so you get great value for your money. Make sure to visit these restaurants when you’re hungry!
[This article was originally published in Walkerplus on 06.20.2017]
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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