In Japan, if you live right next to the Inland Sea, well, you eat Inland Sea fishes. It was only natural, after crossing the whole width of Japan to visit Tottori, that we stopped at the local fish market to eat the stuff fished in the Sea of Japan.
In Tottori, Karoichi fish market is the place to go. It’s a pint size market if you compare it to Tsukiji in Tokyo, but it offers the best and the freshest from the Sea of Japan. The fishing harbor is located right across the street from the market.
The market has two big touristy restaurants, but we opted for the smaller Ikkataro which is operated by two ladies. The restaurant is small with only a counter and a couple tables.
We got there a 11 am and the restaurant was almost full.
The restaurant has a small menu, but I simply pointed at what was coming out of the open kitchen and told my wife: “I want that and I also want that, ok?” I am good at pointing at food and I soon found out that I had pointed at the special of the day.
The special is a steal at 1000 yen. For that price you get a plate of squid sashimi. Deep fried squid. Miso soup and a bowl of rice topped with fish eggs, sea weed, fresh ginger and some marinated squid.
There was also a tiny dish with some truly nasty marinated fish which I tried to pass to my wife to find out that she really doesn’t like this type of fish.
The sashimi was just a notch under the squid I had in Fukuoka. This mean is pretty stellar compared to the stuff I normally eat.
The fried squid was the star of the meal. The squid is fried to order and I wanted a second serving when I was done.
The rice bowl which was served with recently harvested rice was packed with flavors. The marinated squid was particularly good.
I also ordered a side of fried shrimps. The shrimps had a light and crispy coating. The mayonnaise and ketchup sauce which is not that popular in Japan was a nice touch.
Watching the two ladies cooking was a real pleasure and they could put most contestants of Hell’s Kitchen to shame.
It’s not a fancy restaurant, but it’s great home cooking.
After lunch we explored the market itself.
We ended up buying some fishes and they packed it really well for us to bring back to Kurashiki.
There is a crab museum right next to the main building. Crab is not in season right now, but we saw some really unique crabs. The museum is free and it’s perfect if you go with kids.
The beach is only 100 meters from the market. It’s wide and I was surprised by how fine and soft the sand was.
So if you want to go to the beach, eat good fishes and learn more about crabs, it’s the perfect place. And it was almost empty if you compare it to the dunes!
The market is located just outside the city center. I don’t how easy it is to get there without a car. I might not go back to the Tottori sand dunes for a while, but I am already planning a trip back to Karoichi to eat some crab this coming winter.