【Gourmet Japan】Appreciate Exquisite Michelin Starred Sushi in Japan's Northern Land. Hokkaido, Otaru "Isezushi"
LIFE & STYLE
Otaru, Hokkaido. Otaru flourished as a key port of Hokkaido and for a short while was so prosperous that it was called the "Wall Street of the North."
After the war Otaru lost its economic base and rapidly deteriorated, but now there are two sushi establishments that shine as bright as the Michelin stars they were awarded. Here, we introduce one of the restaurants, "Isezushi."
・Michelin star awarded in 2012
Isezushi was one of the sushi restaurants to be awarded a star in the prestigious "Micheline Guide Hokkaido 2012." In the Hokkaido version of the guide, there are four 3-star, twelve 2-star and 50 1-star establishments; a total of only 66 restaurants. The stately exterior exudes cleanliness and suggests that the sushi will be delicious. A trip to Otaru to enjoy sushi at this fine establishment, may be worthwhile.
・An Otaru specialty: Uni (sea urchin)
The current standard of packaging of uni in wooden boxes, is a practice that originated in Otaru. The techniques used to catch uni and the careful arrangement of the uni in wooden boxes now used throughout Japan and the world, are based on methods developed by the fishermen of Otaru. Uni eaten at the birthplace of the techniques for handling it, is exceptional.
・An Otaru specialty: Shako (a species of mantis shrimp)
Shako caught in Otaru are larger than that of other areas but the bigger size doesn't mean they taste bland. On the contrary, Otaru's shako are rich in flavors and umami. The females are in season in spring and males are best eaten in the autumn. At Isezushi, the male shako are used for sushi and the females are prepared as an accompaniment to sake, to serve the shako at their best.
・An Otaru specialty: Nishin (pacific herring)
Nishin fishing was one of Otaru's key economic bases before the war. Herring is popular throughout Japan and overseas, especially in Europe, but it's rarely consumed raw. That's because herring is known for going bad very quickly. Otaru is one of a handful of places you can enjoy nishin sushi, and it's amazing. The distinct firmness and fattiness of the flesh set it apart from all other blue-backed fish. The nishin's rich umami and almost crunchy texture make it one of the best sushi to be enjoyed in Otaru.
In addition to the three specialties aboves, many other seasonal gourmet dishes of Otaru can be enjoyed to your heart's content at "Isezushi."
How about a trip to discover such hidden delicacies of Japan? You will discover artistic cuisine, which has been carefully cultivated by the land and it's history.
Address: 3-15-3 Inaho, Otaru City, Hokkaido
Open: 11:30～14:30 / 17:00～21:30
Closed on Wednesdays