When visiting Toyama, the land famous for its seafood and rice production, “Toyama Bay Sushi” is a must.
“Toyama Bay Sushi” is an example of sushi that conveys the richness of the seafood and the pride of the area.
A wide variety of fish inhabits Toyama Bay thanks to the 4,000-meter difference between the Tateyama Mountain Range’s 3,000-meter-high peaks and the bay itself, with depths of 1,000 meters. The melted snow that pours from this range in the Northern Alps into the bay creates this miraculous environment.
All of this, in addition to the abundance of seasonal fish, the proximity to fishing grounds, and the work of the artisans, combine to create Toyama’s luxurious sushi.
Toyama Bay, lovingly called a “natural fish tank,” is the source of the fresh fish used in “Toyama Bay Sushi,” which can only be enjoyed there.
The set consists of ten pieces of sushi made using local rice and soup indicative of Toyama. The seasonal nigiri sushi is laid out before you as the names of each fish are mentioned one by one. Prices are within a fixed range of 2,500 to 3,850 yen (tax included), so even those trying a sushi restaurant for the first time need not worry.
Reservations at least a day in advance garner special service bonuses — perhaps a small bowl of food, an extra piece of sushi, etc., so we recommend making a reservation.
Toyama Bay, “Nature’s Fish Tank
Melted snow from the Tateyama Mountain Range flows along carrying nutrients, blessing the Toyama Bay with food for plankton and, thereby, fish.
At more than 1,200 meters deep in certain locations, the bay is one of the deepest in Japan.
The coastal waters, waters of the Sea of Japan, and those of the Tsushima Warm Current form three layers home to various sea life, and it’s said around 500 of the approximately 800 species of fish in the Sea of Japan live here.
This topography led to the moniker “nature’s fish tank,” and it provides rich harvests each season.
The ingredients used in Toyama Bay Sushi consist of fresh seafood from ports throughout the prefecture that have been caught using various fishing methods, including “Etchu set-net fishing” from Himi and “crab basket fishing” from Uozu. The “Etchu set-nets” can actually be seen from land as they are typically close to the coast, and fish caught in them are carefully handled to ensure freshness. Hence why fresh and live fish are found in the markets. The ideas of “freshly caught,” “freshly sold,” and “freshly prepared” are what make Toyama Bay Sushi so delightful.
Why It’s Delicious, Reason #2: Water from “Snow and Green Dams” Produces Delicious Rice
One of the sources of Toyama’s exquisite water is the melting snow that flows down the 3,000-meter-high Tateyama Mountain Range, even during summer. The clear water from the so-called “snow dam” becomes a river, which then flows over the land and enriches the fields, thereby producing delicious rice.
In addition, rain and snow seep into the surrounding forest soil and absorb and filter out the elements in the ground, producing cool spring water.
This water, so delicious even straight from the tap, is the result of many factors.
Why It’s Delicious, Reason #3: Sushi Representative of Toyama’s Seasons
Varied seasons make for a varied catch at Toyama Bay.
● Spring and Summer: Firefly squid, glass shrimp, etc.
● Fall: Red snow crab, etc.
● Winter: Yellowtail, thread-sail filefish, etc.
In addition, one of the charms is how the sushi’s ingredients change seasonally.
There are around 100 varieties of photos displaying seasonal ingredients from Toyama Bay on the Toyama Bay Sushi official website.
If you order and choose counter seating, you can, of course, watch the artisan's skilled hands as they prepare your meal, but you can also strike up a conversation while you wait, making the experience even more memorable.
Only the Freshest Seafood
“Toyama Bay Sushi” is offered at participating locations throughout Toyama Prefecture.
There are even restaurants where owners visit the auctions at the fishing ports to personally judge the quality of the fish.
To maintain that fresh, delicious quality, all seafood purchased is immediately prepared and kept fresh for the customers. The pride and cooperation of these restaurants are what foster the strong association of “Toyama Bay Sushi” with images of the prefecture.
Born from the Spirit of Hospitality: Toyama Bay Sushi
Toyama Bay Sushi preparations begin with guests’ orders.
As with choosing the various ingredients for seafood, each shop is fastidious in its selection of the other ingredients that go into their sushi.
They go to great lengths to provide delicious sushi, starting with the “Fufufu” brand of rice from Toyama down to the locally fermented soy sauce.
As Toyama Bay Sushi was born from the desire to welcome guests from outside the prefecture, it fostered determination and spirit in the hearts of Toyama’s sushi artisans.
Searching for Sushi from Toyama
Locations offering Toyama Bay Sushi can be found on the official website, along with images of the location, pricing, maps, etc.
Also, certain locations serve the “ikkon set,” where you can pair your sushi with local sake and seafood, or the “motenashi,” where you can enjoy kaiseki cuisine with Toyama Bay Sushi. Please check the website for locations.
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