Nov 292013

Good morning from the Itoigawa Global Geopark!

Yesterday, the “Itoigawa, I Like This!” Fair was held at the Jade Kingdom Center, a tourism and local produce center located right next to Itoigawa Station. The fair was designed to provide local individuals and organizations an opportunity to showcase the variety of products that are produced right here in Itoigawa City.


The event had an excellent turnout of both people and exhibitors, including Midori Kobo, a  wasabi farm located in Tsukimizu-no-ike Geosite…

DSC_0823…a number of local fishing co-ops and organizations…
DSC_0821…and even companies like Yamasen, a local provider of heating and snow removal solutions.

The event also provided an opportunity to introduce visitors to local events, like the Itoigawa Monkfish Festival, which is just around the corner.

DSC_0822The Itoigawa Aranami Monkfish Festival is held every winter in three locations in Itoigawa. “Aranami” is a Japanese word which means “raging waves” or “stormy seas” and perfectly describes the character of the Sea of Japan during winter. These cold, stormy seas provide a bounty of monkfish, a species of anglerfish which lives on the seabed, spending most of its life partially buried in sand. While the fish itself is quite grotesque in appearance, its flesh is exceptionally delicious. The soft, collagen-rich tail meat is often compared to lobster and the highly prized liver is called the foie gras of the sea.

In order to maintain healthy, sustainable stocks, the monkfish is only caught during a few months in winter. Itoigawa is particularly well-known for monkfish and celebrates the return of monkfish season each year with this festival. It is held in three locations: In front of Itoigawa Station, at Marine Dream Nou, and at Oyashirazu Pier Park. Visitors to the festival are treated to a butsugiri exhibition, in which they can see the unusual way in which monkfish is cleaned and sliced. Then visitors can sample monkfish stew, which is without a doubt the best way to enjoy this succulent fish during the icy cold of winter.

DSC_0826The fair was definitely a success and we look forward to putting on more events like this so that more and more people can see everything that Itoigawa and the Itoigawa Global Geopark have to offer.

Hope to see you at the next one!