As a fishing port with historic ties to Kyoto, the city of Obama offers wonderful dining options for travelers visiting its sightseeing spots. It is also possible to build your meal into an experience that involves observing how local foods/drinks are produced and how fish are raised.
Seafood lovers can dine on the freshest local specialties – served by fishermen who have caught your meal earlier in the day. At Amimoto Ryori Uratani Ryokan, enjoy sashimi, squid, oysters, tempura, nabe (hot pot), and more.
It is also possible to dine on locally raised Wakasa fugu (pufferfish). As they are raised in cold, winter seas, these fugu are comparable in taste to wild pufferfish. They have almost zero fat, are low calorie, are rich in potassium, and have a high protein content. Some fishermen who raise them have obtained licenses to prepare this poisonous fish for their guests.
Suigetsu, in Obama’s historic district, offers a special lunch or dinner of delicious Japanese dishes with a hint of French influence. The restaurant is housed in a beautiful historic building, the staff speak some English, and, if notified in advance, they can accommodate any special food requirements. To turn this into an experience, have Obama’s last remaining geisha entertain you during your meal.
Obama is the starting point of the famous Saba Kaido, a ‘mackerel highway’ that historically supplied Kyoto with products from the sea and Asia. Mackerel is obviously a specialty and nobody does it better than Sabar Obama Tagarasu-ten. Facing the sea, this modern, hip establishment serves a beautiful meal that allows diners to sample mackerel prepared a variety of ways.
Lunch at Sabar can be included in a three hour Obama Experience. In addition to lunch, ride a fishing boat out to feed saba raised in ocean pens and visit a local who carries on the tradition of making preserved, fermented mackerel called Heshiko.
Further inland, Avanti offers something completely different. Locals carefully prepare popular dishes that focus on vegetables grown in Obama. Most of their business is based on catering and delivery, so reservations are required to eat on-site in their renovated traditional wooden farmhouse.
Ten minutes drive from Avanti is the Tobaya Su-ten, a shop that has been making vinegar by traditional methods for three hundred years. 13th generation, Nakano-san, speaks some English and will happily introduce you to some of his healthy and delicious products.
If you are a fan of Japanese sake, pay a visit to Obama Shuzo. The owner, Takaoka-san, speaks excellent English, and with advanced reservations, he can give you a tour of the facilities followed by some sake tasting. On specific dates, it is also possible to spend an hour working on-site to help make the sake itself.
For more information on any of the locations listed above, contact the Wakasa Obama Tourism Association. Many of the dining options can be enjoyed as part of an Obama ‘experience’. Check out the Experience Obama website or contact the Obama Destination Management Association, in English or Japanese, at 0770-56-3366.