Do you know “shirasu” (young sardines)? They are a specialty of Enoshima and Kamakura, which is a famous sightseeing spot not far from Tokyo. Note that April to December is the season to taste fresh shirasu. Here are five shirasudon (rice bowl topped with young sardines) shops in Enoshima, Kamakura that are currently enjoying a surge in popularity.
1. Kamakura Akimoto
Kamakura Akimoto is a shop where you can eat the limited-quantity “Nama Shirasudon” (rice bowl topped with raw young sardines) (1,404 JPY (incl. tax)) that is made using lavish amounts of fresh, raw shirasu caught every morning from local waters (this dish is only available between April to December). The dish is characterized by the raw shirasu on top of a heaping amount of “kamaage shirasu” (freshly boiled young sardines). Take a bite by putting a little soy sauce on top and then mixing the bowl of rice and ingredients with the dollop of grated ginger placed on one side of the rice bowl. The first you will taste is that unique texture of fresh, raw shirasu caught early in the morning, and then your mouth will be filled with a distinct kind of sweetness. The fate of shirasudon is determined by the delivery of ingredients around 10:30 am each morning, as there will be shirasudon only if there is any shirasu is delivered. So, try to get to this shop early to get a chance to taste this specialty dish.
2. Wasai Yakura Wakamiya Oji Branch
Wasai Yakura is a shop that is famous for the “Yakura Meibutsu Shirasudon” (Yakura special shirasudon) (1,430 JPY (incl. tax)) that lavishly uses kamaage shirasu that is made by boiling fresh shirasu in salt water. Here, the “Shonan Shirasu Gozen” (1,980 JPY (incl. tax)), a set of kamaage shirasudon and shirasu kakiage (small pieces of shirasu and vegetables are dipped in batter made from wheat flour and then deep-fried), is highly recommended. You will enjoy the rich taste of the fluffy kamaage shirasudon and the crispy palate of the kakiage. Aside from those, the “Shirasu Dashimaki Tamago” (rolled Japanese-style omelette with shirasu) (600 JPY (incl. tax)) is also popular. You must taste another flavor of shirasu that is different from what the rice bowl has to offer.
3. Enoshima Uomitei
Enoshima Uomitei is a well-established shop with a history spanning about 140 years. Recommended here are the “Nama Shirasudon (860 JPY (excl. tax))” that features extremely fresh shirasu that can only be eaten on the day it was caught and the “Shirasudon” (860 JPY (excl. tax)) that is topped with kamaage shirasu. You will enjoy an ocean view wherever you sit in this shop, but on a clear day, try to ask for a seat on the terrace outside of the building. You will surely feel wonderful when you see the gorgeous scenery right in front of you. This is also a romantic spot for dining while gazing at the sun setting over the sea.
4. Enoshima Koya
Enoshima Koya is a quaint shop inspired by the cabins (“koya”) that are a familiar sight along the coast. It opens early in the morning (8:00 am), so you can eat breakfast here and then go for a tour of the Enoshima Aquarium that is just within a short walking distance. The recommended dish at this restaurant is the “Shin-Kamaage Shirasudon” (1,100 JPY, comes with appetizers and soup). It is a specialty dish that boasts of being seasoned with natural salt. During shirasu season, you can also taste the “Nama Shirasu” (920 JPY) (with rice and soup for an additional charge of 520 JPY). However, this shop only finds out whether or not there is delivery of shirasu for the day at around 10:00 am. Opt for a seat on the deck and enjoy dining while feeling the pleasant, salty sea breeze on your face.
5. Tobiccho Honten
Most shops only serve shirasu that was caught that morning. You may even be unable to order shirasudon on days when there is no catch. Tobiccho is an extremely popular restaurant in Enoshima as it is a place that offers an extensive shirasu menu for such times. With three branches in Enoshima, this shop serves a wide array of dishes, including the crowd favorite “Nama Shirasudon” (890 JPY), as well as the “Tobiccho-don” (1,750 JPY) that is overflowing with fresh shirasu, and the “1-Piece Shirasu Kakiagedon” (950 JPY). This restaurant also makes such interesting items as “Shirasu Ice Cream” (280 JPY). Try it for dessert!
Raw shirasu in season, which you cannot eat outside of the areas where they are caught, is a Japanese dish that you need to taste. But don’t lose heart if there is no delivery on the day you visit. The fluffy kamaage shirasu that is quickly boiled in salt water is also an exquisite dish. Enjoy shirasu that is booming of late!
*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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