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平成26年 (2014年) 9月 16日

国際課

ACCESS  April - May 2009

A Bimonthly Newsletter for International Residents of Yamaguchi Prefecture


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Fugu



One of Yamaguchi Prefecture’s specialties is fugu, or blowfish. Based on the remenants of fugu bones found at archaelogical sites, we know that fugu has been consumed in Japan for thousands of years. Because fugu has such a long history in Japan, perhaps it is no surprise that today roughly 10,000 tons of fugu are consumed annually. The place most often associated with fugu is Shimonoseki.


Shimonoseki handles the largest amount of fugu in Japan. In Shimonoseki, fugu are known as fuku. In Japanese, the character for luck also can be read as “fuku.” The large quantity of fugu the city catches both attracts tourists and produces revenue, so perhaps it is for these reasons the residents of Shimonoseki think of their city’s official fish as lucky! It is evident how proud Shimonoseki is to be associated with fugu when one visits the city. Images of fugu can be found everywhere from the train station to manhole covers throughout the city. If you wish to see live fugu, the Kaikyōkan aquarium in has an exhibit that features fugu from around the world. The people of Shimonoseki are truly lucky to be able to call such a prized fish their own!


Many tourists come to Shimonoseki especially to eat fugu. Because there are many types of fugu cuisine and meals can sometimes become expensive, it may be a good idea to plan a trip to a restaurant before you go. In addition to consulting a guidebook or the Internet, asking people you know for their recommendations may be helpful. If you are interested in trying fugu, here are some suggestions. 


Fugu-sashi

Thin slices of raw fugu are served with ponzu shōyu (soy sauce mixed with bitter orange juice). The slices are arranged on a plate in an aesthetically pleasing design.

Fugu kara-age

Fugu that has been deep fried.

Fugu chiri

Tofu and vegetables are mixed with the meat from the backbone and the head and bones of the fish. They are then boiled in a seaweed broth. This dish is served with ponzu shoyu as well.

Fugu hirezake

The fins of the fugu are roasted and placed in heated sake.


While it is a delicacy for diners throughout the world, the fugu itself is a poisonous fish. The very fact that it is poisonous both repels and attracts would be diners. Its internal organs contain poison and must be handled with care. Fugu cuisine must, therefore, be prepared by a chef who has been specially trained to work with it in order to ensure that the meal is safe for consumption. Regulations concerning fugu were passed in Osaka in 1948, in Tokyo in 1949, and in Fukuoka in 1978. However, fugu regulations were not established in Yamaguchi Prefecture until 1981.


There are also many fugu themed souvenirs that you can buy in Shimonoseki and throughout Yamaguchi Prefecture. One popular souvenir in Shimonoseki is a fugu lantern. The lantern is made from a fugu skin. You can purchase souvenirs in the shape of fugu, such as cell phone straps, key chains, and other decorations. There are also items with a fugu motif, such as towels, postcards, and plates. You can even buy fugu-themed character goods. For example, some of the Yamaguchi edition Hello Kitty designs feature Hello Kitty together with or dressed as a fugu!


Whether you go to Shimonoseki to see fugu at the Kaikyōkan or to sample fugu cuisine, you are sure to have a good time!



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