Home to the Abashiri Prison which used to house political prisoners during the Meiji eria, Abashiri is to the Japanese what Alcatraz is to the Americans. Except that this is just one aspect of this tiny coastal city.
The largest town on the Okhotsk Coast of northeastern Hokkaido, Abashiri is an important port in the region and has a thriving fishing industry. Here, you will find an abundance of seasonal seafood coupled with breathtaking natural beauty, be it the striking coat of coral grass over Lake Notori-ko every September, the wild flower preserve at Koshimizu Gensei-kaen bursting into colour in spring and summer, or the impressive ice floes drifting in the sea in winter.
What brought us there?
Long story short, I wanted to go to Shiretoko Peninsula, which is on the remote northeastern corner of Hokkaido. But I didn’t want to stay in Utoro (marked in pink in the map below), a small fishing port that also serves as a base for visitors to the Shiretoko Peninsula National Park and seemed too touristy for my liking. We were travelling from Kamifurano (green place marker) and it would have taken us around five and a half hours of non-stop travel to cover the 300 kilometres to Utoro, which seemed daunting as I wasn’t used to driving long distances.
Abashiri (cyan blue place marker) popped up as a more viable stopover for a night between Kamifurano and Shiretoko Peninsula as it would have taken around four hours of non-stop driving across some 230 kilometres. We would also have time to stop by a few places en-route to Abashiri and have a more relaxing drive.
Before arriving at Abashiri, we drove to Cape Notoro / 能取岬, as I wanted to see the mountains on Shiretoko Peninsula from afar. Alas, it was too misty that day to see anything in the distance. But we got to admire a picturesque scene of grazing cows and horses with gentle green mountains in the background which was really nice.
Moving on, it was time for a late lunch. It took us a few rounds of driving up and down a particular coastal stretch of road in Abashiri before we found Oyaji Crabs かにの大内. By the time I parked the car, we were famished and were hoping that the restaurant was still open for lunch. It was. Hooray!
The restaurant owner and us didn’t speak a common language, but after some pointing and gesturing, we selected a live king crab that was weighed so that we could agree on the price. Our crab cost slightly below 20,000 Japanese Yen, which was around S$230 / 140€, making it the most expensive crab that any one in my family has ever eaten.
Simply cooked in boiling water and served with no added seasoning, the crab arrived on our table in its crimson glory. We were provided with scissors and chopsticks. This was going to be a hands-on meal.
There was collective gasps and moments of silence when we started to eat. The crab was ‘meaty’ and the flesh was succulent and sweet. Unbelievably good. Oishii!
Oyaji Crabs かにの大内
Address 〒093-0086 北海道網走市字二ツ岩173−2 北海道網走市字ニツ岩168番地
11 replies on “Abashiri Crab Feast // 網走市, 北海道”
Must be very cold over there….看照片都覺得冷 🙂
I was there in summer 2012, so it wasn’t very cold but it certainly was cool. I loved it!
It does look like a nice crab, though!
140 Euros for a crab? Wow, it must have been good. Mrs. Ha is a crab fan. If I ever get her to accompany me on a birding trip to Japan I’ll see if I can mortgage the dog to raise funds for a crab. Or maybe half. I love the close up of the cow 🙂
We didn’t have much of a choice partly because we were so hungry and the restaurant (which was like a nice little roadside shack) was out of town. I had read that it was going to be expensive but that it would be worth the quality. So the price was a little shocking but the experience was worth it!
The crab could be a good carrot for Mrs Ha! The seafood is amazing in Hokkaido – so if she also enjoys other things like tuna sashimi, sea urchin, etc. 🙂
I love that cow shot too!