Strange, Tasty Food In Yakushima

"Turtle hand" and other foods rarely found elsewhere

By Victoria Vlisides    - 2 min read

No, you don't eat turtle hands in Yakushima -- although you will eat food which looks uncannily like that of a turtle hand. "Kame-no-te" directly translates to "turtle hand." However, it is actually a seafood!

It is native to Yakushima, a small island in southern Japan located in Kagoshima Prefecture. When "Kame-no-te" was laid out before us, even the Japanese people in my group didn't know what it was. It's actually a type of barnacle, or so we were told, that lives in the local coastal area. I reckon it will be pretty tasty to the adventurous eater’s pallet.

Other foods eaten while in Yakushima were:

  • Deer meat, called "shika." (From deer which are native to the island.) It is eaten in a variety of ways.
  • Flying fish, called "tobiuo." It is usually served fried or baked.
  • Various sashimi, which is super fresh and often caught the day of. Types depends on the season.
  • Mochi tea leaf dessert ~ Seen wrapped in a leaf. Do not eat the leaf!
  • Not pictured: Native citrus fruits known as "ponkan" and "tankan."

Most local restaurants and/or markets will have the above items. While in this beautiful and remote island, I suggest you take a chance, and try something new.

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Victoria Vlisides

Victoria Vlisides @victoria.vlisides

Trained journalist who's not yet jaded. Can't get enough of meeting new people, the view, cheap travel, cherry-blossom-flavored food, dinner&drinks. Painfully addicted to Japan's gochya-gochya machines. If you're the type of person to try something new vs. something you know you like, we'll get along. I'm originally from the USA. Now in Chiba Prefecture, and August 2016 marks two years in Japan. I've worked in journalism/newspapers for more than 5 years. My:  Blog  --  Instagram   Travels in Japan (in brief): Kagoshima (Yakushima), Shizuoka (Gunma (Oze National Park, Mt. Shibutsu, Minakamix2), Tochigi (Kinugawa-Onsen, Nikko), Hyogo (Kobex2, Arima Hot Springs), Kyoto x3, Osaka, Nagano (Hakuba), Yamanashi (Katsunuma, Kawaguchiko area, Mt. Daibosatsu x3), Okinawa, Aichi (Nagoya), Kanagawa (Yokohama, Enoshima, Hakone, Kamakura), Tokyo (of course), Chiba (Choshi, Onjuku Beach, Otaki Forest, Otaki Castle, Nokogiriyama, Chiba City, Isumi, Kamogawa), Gifu, Ibaraki (Hitachi Seaside Park), Saitama (Kawaguchi), Shizuoka (Izu), Tokushima Travels outside of Japan: South Korea, Italy, Greece, France, Jamaica, Canada, Mexico x2, 22 states within the USA Future travel goals: Fukuoka, (SK) Seoul (again!), Hokkaido, Mt. Zao, Hiroshima, Mt. Fuji, Daito Islands (Okinawa), Taiwan, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Iceland, Norway, Kyrgastan