The spirit of Yaizu that so entranced Yakumo lives on today
When he spent time with the “candid, kind, and honest” folk of Yaizu – including Yamaguchi Otokichi, a fish merchant who took care of him – even the uptight Yakumo was apparently able to smile and be himself. In the morning, Sasue Maeda Fish Store is overflowing with fresh seafood and bustling with people carrying and processing it. One person who stands out among them is Mr. Naoki Maeda. A discerning connoisseur of fish, he mingles like a kid with the chefs who come to purchase fish, then smiles kindly at his customers. While his expertise is in demand among the world’s finest restaurants, the fish store is also a favorite among locals for its dried fish and seasonal sashimi. “We are relaying the baton of life between fishermen, chefs, and customers. Fish are the only thing humans have nothing to do with.” Maeda’s explanation is strangely convincing. Yaizu is close to the sea, rivers, and mountains, and is in contact with fish, an element of nature beyond the control of humans. Maybe this explains the humanity of the people of Yaizu, whom Yakumo so adored.
With these thoughts in mind, I headed for one of the restaurants that Maeda-san supplies, Taigo Sugiyama’s Chakaiseki Onjyaku. Popular for its full-course Yaizu seafood menu, it is fully booked for the next two months. The large wooden counter sets the scene for savoring their thoughts and myriad stories about fish. Each dish, prepared after a nightly meeting with Maeda to discuss cooking methods after the restaurant closes, are extremely nourishing, like the warm stones that Zen monks are said to have held to stave off cold and hunger during their ascetic training. I had an inkling that I was about to experience the time-honored appeal of Yaizu.
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A replenishing journey through a port town tinged with the sea breeze
Tour de Nippon in Yaizu
Held on the weekend of September 24-25, 2022
Enjoy the charms of Yaizu to the fullest with vistas of Suruga Bay and Mt.Fuji. Fishing on Day 1. Come cast a line with Ai Miura. Tuck into an evening repast of fish caught in Yaizu. Hike and bike on day 2. Cycling along the beach to Hanazawa-no-sato while snacking on Yaizu’s gastronomic treats. After hiking up Man-gan-ho, experience Zen at Rinso-in Temple. At the end of the tour, relax and peacefully melt into the soothing Kuroshio Onsen Nakamura-kan. Come, join us on a journey to get in touch with nature, to breath deeply, and to bring some balance to mind and body.