Although often mistaken for a town with the same name in Hiroshima, the port town of Kure in Kochi Prefecture has a history of its own stretching back some 400 years.
Kure has prospered thanks to its robust fishing industry, and is particularly known for the tradition of catching katsuo (bonito) using single fishing lines instead of the much more destructive nets. It's a labor-intensive method that has changed very little in hundreds of years. Reminders of the town's connection to the ocean are everywhere, ranging from food stalls and restaurants that serve fresh katsuo almost all year round to the nagashi-dai (special sinks used for cleaning fish) that you see at the entrance of the many Showa-period homes that line the narrow meandering streets.
Kure’s retro post-war buildings were designated an Important Cultural Property in 2011, and have been preserved as a living museum, where visitors can can still feel the liveliness of the town.
There are a number of other spots for visitors to see while wandering through the retro townscape, such as the Nishioka sake brewery, Nakatosa Town Museum and Kuroshio Kobo, where you can sear your own bonito overlooking the ocean! A quick walk from the market is Kure Hachimangu, a shrine where fishermen go to pray for a good catch and protection while on the seas. This is a popular spot for photographers at sunset, when it is possible to catch the sun setting on the sea through the torii gate facing the Pacific Ocean.
However, the biggest draw of the town is Kure Taishomachi Ichiba Market, a covered market street decorated with huge, brightly-colored fishermen’s flags. Here you can check out little shops that have supplied people in the town with fish, vegetables and snacks for over 100 years. Be sure to try the Kure-don, a bowl of rice topped with your choice of fresh seafood from the catch of the day.