Sweet and transparent right through—the king of squid!
Located at the northern end of Saga Prefecture, facing onto the Sea of Japan, the town of Yobuko-cho is famous for fresh Yobuko squid. Transparent in body and firm in texture, Yobuko squid has a sweetness that melts upon the tongue. Go to any other Japanese port city—you’ll never encounter such fresh and tasty squid. There are several types of Yobuko squid: sweet swordtip squid are in season from May to October, while big-fin reef squid are in season from October to February. Many tourists from all over visit during the popular swordtip squid season.
If you’re eating Yobuko squid, try ikezukuri!
In the finely crafted style of sashimi known as ikezukuri, the flesh of still-living seafood is served. The freshness is outstanding—in fact, the flesh is usually still twitching while served up on the plate. The restaurant Genkai, founded in 1969, is the birthplace of squid ikezukuri. The store has a huge tank of Yobuko ocean water in which squid swim around cheerfully. The remains of the squid that end up as ikezukuri sashimi are also served salt-grilled, simmered, or as tempura. At this long-established store, you can enjoy an exhaustive variety of Yobuko squid.
Head to the morning market for a taste of the Yobuko port air.
The Yobuko morning market is one of Japan's three major morning markets, and it’s definitely worth a visit if you're in town. Boasting a history dating back to the Edo period, the market is held daily from 7.30 A.M to 11 A.M, 364 days a year (closed on New Year's Day). Around 50 stores are open on weekdays, with around 70 opening on weekends and holidays. From seafood to vegetables and souvenirs, all manner of goods are available. It’s no exaggeration to say that all the delicious delights of Yobuko are gathered together at this morning market. Recommended dishes include squid dried overnight, squid dumplings, and all kinds of seafood harvested from the Genkainada Sea. Don’t bother eating breakfast before you go!
Seafood Restaurant Genkai
- 508-3 Tononoura, Yobuko-cho, Karatsu-shi, Saga-ken
- Opening hours
- 11 A.M. – 8 P.M. (last order 7 P.M.), Tuesdays 11 A.M. – 4 P.M (last order 3 P.M.)
- Open seven days a week (Closed New Year's Eve & New Year's Day)
- Saga Airport is a 90-minute flight from Haneda Airport.
- Saga Station is 30 minutes by limousine bus from Saga Airport.
- Karatsu Station is about 70 minutes via the JR Karatsu Line from Saga Station.
- Karatsu Bus Center is a 6-minute walk from Karatsu Station.
- The Yobuko bus stop is about 40 minutes via the Minato-Yobuko bus line from Karatsu Bus Center.
- Seafood Restaurant Genkai is about 15 minutes by taxi from the Yobuko bus stop.