January 8, 2005
The sun finally broke through the clouds on this day (it was three days of rain and dreary weather prior), lifting everyone's spirits and appetites. It was our last chance to see and taste the famed Hokkaido crabs, although ika (squid) seemed to be their main produce. Stall after stall, the vendors call out to tourists, handing out samples of piping hot crabmeat to lure them in. Competition seemed stiff, as vendors laid out their seafood in attractive displays. The streets smelled of sweet-cooked crab—no fishy smell here.
This is the place to sample some of the freshest seafood at cheap prices. After some price comparison, we settled in one of the tented stalls away from the main market area. On promotion was the chirashi set (raw sashimi atop rice). For the price of 1500 yen (US$14), we were allowed to choose three different toppings; crab miso soup, free-flowing green tea, and grilled squid were included as part of the "service" (as the locals called it).
It was one of the most satisfying, value-for-money lunch we had. I chose baby abalone, crabmeat, and sea urchin as my toppings. The baby abalone was thinly sliced and crunchy and the crab was exquisitely sweet, while the sea urchin was fresh and creamy. *sigh*
To get there:
It is located to the right of the JR station, less than three minutes’ walk.
From journal Hokkaido, the JR Express Experience