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People in Japan love eating snow crabs. In Echizen Town, there is a famous brand-name of the eponymous “Echizen Crab”. Along the coastal region of Japan on the Sea of Japan side, there are many other crabbing towns. They have their own brand-name crabs: “Hokkaido Matsuba Crab” in Hokkaido, “Kano Crab” in Ishikawa, “Kasumi Crab” in Hyogo, “Taiza Crab” in Kyoto, and so on. These names derive from the eponymous fishing ports. Inarguably, snow crabs are one of the best of all Japanese seafood meals. Just imagining a pile of freshly boiled crabs or crab legs on a platter can make my mouth watery.
Echizen Crab Festival is a popular food event organized by Echizen Town and local fishermen’s unions, featuring their brand-name Echizen Crab and other seafood products. The event has some attractions: a quiz show about crabs, stone-paper-scissors tournament (for which you might win a prize), and other stage performances.
This is the biggest attraction in the festival. Many visitors come all the way from various regions to enjoy the taste. The miso soup is cooked from extracts of many ocean-fresh female snow crabs – “Seiko Gani”. But the competition is very severe to get the soup. 600 tickets for the miso soup start to be sold for ¥500 a bowl twice (300 tickets in the morning and the rest 300 in the afternoon). But they are all sold out in a moment. So you should arrive in Echizen prior to the festival and stay overnight somewhere around the venue.
The festival takes place to celebrate the opening of the crabbing season: November 6th every year. I can’t tell you the exact dates, but the annual event for the crustaceans takes place on a weekend in November after the crabbing season starts. Let me introduce the brief schedule of Echizen Crab Festival 2018, which was on November 17th, Saturday and 18th, Sunday.
– 9:00 Opening ceremony
– 9:30 Sales and Distribution of Tickets for “Seiko Gani” Miso Soup
– 10:30 Stone-paper-Scissors Tournament
– 12:00 Stage Show
– 13:00 Quiz Show
– 13:30 Sales and Distribution of Tickets for “Seiko Gani” Miso Soup
– 14:00 Stage Show
Local fishermen display and sell fresh snow crabs at several booths nestling up to one another.
Many booths sell other seafood products than snow crabs. Of course, you can find stalls that serve some snow crab dishes such as grilled crab legs, gratin, rice cooked with tomalley “kani-miso (蟹味噌)” or crab butter, and so on.
You can get a raffle ticket for every three thousand Yen purchase. The prizes this year included crab products, sweet shrimps, and other items.
Near the festival, venue is the Echizen Crab Museum, which was renovated in 2016 so that visitors can learn more about the species. At the entrance, you will notice the spectacular replica of the sea bottom at a depth of 300 meters below the Sea of Japan. In the “Experiment Zone,” you can touch some sea creatures caught in the sea. In addition, the museum features some other attractions, one of which is a 3D theater that shows beautiful underwater images. Going through the “Aqua Tunnel”, where fish swim above your head, will also bring a breathtaking experience. Entrance is charge is ¥500 for an adult and ¥300 for a kid.
If you want to know more about Echizen Town, see the following footage:
• Dates: One a weekend in November (after November 6th, the opening day of the crab-hunting season) *The Crab Festival 2018 took place on November 17th, Saturday and 18th, Sunday. Please refer to the official site closer to November to check the dates for the next festival
• Time: 9:00-16:00
• Place: At the parking area in “Michi-no-eki Echizen (道の駅 越前)” or Roadside Rest Area Echizen
• Address: 71-335-1 Kuriya, Echizen-chō, Nyū-gun, Fukui-ken
• Reference: Echizen Town Tourism Federation (Phone: 778-37-1234)
• Official website: http://www.town-echizen.jp/en/.
• Access (railroad):
About 60 minutes’ bus ride (Fukui Railway Bus Services) from Takefu Station on the JR Hokuriku Main Line. Michi-no-eki Echizen is the nearest bus stop to the event site. *The number of bus services is limited, so I strongly recommend checking the bus timetable in advance.
About 40 minutes’ drive from Tsuruga IC, Takefu IC or Sabae IC on the Hokuriku Expressway
• Parking: For 800 cars (Be prepared to get stuck in a heavy traffic jam around the venue as 75,000 people come during the two-day event.)
Cracking a crab is a little annoying work to do. But are you doing it in the right way? Learning the right steps to crack a crab will help you enjoy its juicy and sweet meat to the fullest. If you want to know more about crab-cracking tips, see the article “How to Crack a Crab” in wikiHow: https://m.wikihow.com/Crack-a-Crab.
All images were kindly provided by the Echizen-town Tourism Federation.
If you would like to explore Fukui prefecture and Echizen city together with a local guide who will show you all the hidden gems of the region, please click on the banner below!
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Image courtesy of Takashi Hososhima
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