Just south of Odawara where the famous Odawara Castle stands tall, there is a quaint fishing village called Manazuru Town. The town is located along Sagami Bay and is part of the Hakone Geopark; this mountainous town with its hilltops aligned with colorful houses is often considered the 'Japanese Riviera.'
The people of Manazuru take pride in their rich history of mining the high-quality komatsu stone, most well known for its use in making Japanese gravestones. However, its coastal alignment makes the area an abundant fishing spot as well.
Fishing Experience in Manazuru
There are opportunities to experience fishing with local fishermen and enjoying the fresh catch, both in sashimi (sliced raw fish) and himono (dried fish) form. The morning begins with a private or semi-private hire of a fishing boat equipped with local fishermen guides, all fishing equipment and safety gear. The fishermen will take guests out to multiple spots around the bay for the fishing excursions.
Ride for a Chance to See Dolphins
Fishing here is available year-round, and so is the chance to see dolphins. On my particular visit in February, pods of six to eight dolphins circled nearby the chartered fishing boat. Over the three-hour fishing excursion, over 20 fish were caught by the group. From rockfish to mackerel, both rare treasures to the more everyday Japanese fish can be caught here.
Enjoy Himono Making and the Freshest Sashimi Around
After the excursion, head back to the village shores to learn how to many himono, a traditional Japanese method of gutting and drying fish. Learn about the history and significance of himono making from the local fifth generation master of the Uoden Himono shop while trying your hand at preparing the fish. Keep in mind that the preparation process isn’t for the faintest of hearts so be ready to get your hands dirty! Some may choose to opt out of the process to just enjoy a professionally prepared meal by the locals.
Whether it’s grilling the morning’s freshest catch over the fire or a beautifully decorated sashimi boat, there is more than one way to enjoy the fruits of your own labor. It’s hard to experience seafood that’s any fresher than this! Be sure to try other local ingredients such as the bay’s famous nori seaweed.
After an adventurous morning and a delicious meal, relax by enjoying the natural beauties of Manazuru. Take a walk around Kanagawa Kenritsu Manazuruhato Natural Park which stretches along the coast and through one of the oldest forests in the Kanto region. Be sure to stop by Cape Manazuru and check out the famous Mitsu-ishi sacred rocks. On a day with nice weather, be sure to stay for the sunset over the peninsula for some superb views.
For those looking for more water adventures, Manazuru Town is also known for scuba diving and snorkeling in the warmer months. If you’re interested in something a touch quirkier, try the original Japanese sport of Park Golf down at Ohayashitenbo Park.