If you are a hard core fan of tuna and a relaxed day at the seaside, Misaki’s “Tuna Town” and Jogashima Island are a hard combination to beat.
Is there any protein more iconic of Japan than fish?
Japan’s Miura Peninsula is less than 15 miles from Yokosuka. At the tip of the peninsula is Misaki, known as a ”Tuna Town” due to its high tuna haul.
Tuna is an excellent source of Vitamin D and Omega 3 fatty acids. Beyond being good for your health, fresh tuna is just incredibly delicious.
While I have spent many a happy afternoon hiking and relaxing at Jogashima, it was not until recently that I actually visited Misaki proper. I always walked from the bus stop to Jogashima Island intending to work up a proper appetite for Misaki. After hiking, I was always too tired to explore the harbor.
I resolved to rectify the problem with a special trip to Misaki.
Getting to Misaki Fishing Port
It’s a half hour train ride from Yokosuka to Misakiguchi station, followed by a 20-minute bus to Misaki harbor. It was raining heavily by the time I arrived.
Despite the weather, Miura peninsula’s natural beauty is extraordinary. In addition to its renown as a seafood destination, it’s also famous for its agriculture. Several small farms line both sides of the street, producing the freshest of vegetables and fruits.
Approaching the harbor, it’s clear Misaki is a town whose economy is driven by the fishing industry.
While Tokyo’s Toyosu fish market attracts visitors eager to see the bidding process in action, Misaki Wholesale Seafood Market presents a local, less crowded alternative. Only professionals are allowed on the ground floor to bid. However, visitors can view the process through glass windows on the second floor. (Due to COVID, this opportunity is temporarily suspended.)
Tuna lovers, take heart! There are still an abundance of restaurants near the harbor that specialize in maguro (tuna) to make the journey worthwhile.
Despite the rain, several restaurant owners waited outside to greet potential guests. A friendly woman invited me into her restaurant. It was small, intimate and immaculate. The menu was entirely in Japanese, but I was able to order by pointing at pictures.
Behind the counter, a man I suspect was her husband masterfully crafted a beautiful bowl highlighting several different parts of tuna. The dish was accompanied by hot green tea and an exquisite seaweed and miso soup. The price for this feast came to ¥2000 ($14.26).
There are two ways to access Jogashima Island: bridge and ferry.
The ferry costs ¥500 and takes only five minutes. If you choose to walk, it’s roughly 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles). The bridge length itself is 575 meters.
The islands of Jogashima and Enoshima are almost equidistant from Yokosuka (20 kilometers). Although close together, each island has its own identity and character.
Enoshima Island has an awesome legend that features a love story between a dragon and a beautiful goddess. There are caves with ancient artifacts you can explore by candlelight, shrines, beautiful gardens, onsens, and a fabulous view (on a clear day) of Mt. Fuji.
While beautiful and full of charm, Enoshima is undeniably geared toward tourists.
By contrast, Jogashima is for those looking for nature. The 1.8 kilometer by .6 kilometer island is a place to spend a couple of hours either hiking or sitting on volcanic rock and staring out to sea. There are plenty of places to picnic, fish, and watch crab scurry around in the rock pools. And the views here are magnificent: you can see Umanose Doumon and Mt. Fuji.
There is only one small commercial stretch on the island. The shops sell items made from seashells and small seafood restaurants offer fresh caught produce. Only the most ardent and daring seafood lover will try one particular offering – a soft cream made from shirasu (white bait fish).
I’m still working up the courage to try shirasu soft cream, but go ahead…I dare you!
If You Go
Misaki prizes its tuna so highly that they run a special tourism campaign. The package includes a special rate on train and bus fare, and a meal at one of the participating local restaurants. Visitors can purchase the ticket package from Keikyu ticket machines.