- Main lore areas
- Main ingredients used
Fresh shirasu, rice
- History/origin/related events
Fresh raw shirasu (baby sardines) on vinegared rice (or white rice) is served on top of a bowl of rice. It is a well-known specialty of the Shonan area, including Chigasaki, Kamakura, and Enoshima.
Shirasu are young sardines. Boiled shirasu is called "kama-age shirasu" and sun-dried shirasu is called "shirasu-boshi." Nama-shirasu, as the name implies, is raw unprocessed shirasu. Fresh shirasu lose their freshness quickly and can only be eaten on the same day of landing.
In the Shonan area, shirasu fishing was already practiced during the Edo period. In the beginning, it was common to process the shirasu into "tami-iwashi," which was spread out in a rectangular box and dried in the sun, and kama-age shirasu was only for fishermen's private consumption. With the development of kettle cooking and refrigeration technology, kama-age shirasu and raw shirasu came to be processed and sold directly, and became popular as a local specialty. The fishing grounds are located in Sagami Bay in the southern part of the prefecture. Because the fishing grounds for shirasu are formed near the coast, it is possible to land the fish quickly and with excellent freshness. Most of the fishermen in Kanagawa Prefecture are involved in the entire process from fishing to processing and direct sales, and the freshness and flavor of the shirasu are well known.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
The fishing season lasts about 10 months, from March 11 to December 31. Shirasu can be caught almost year-round, but the peak season for catching shirasu is in spring and fall, when sardines are at their spawning peak. The fishing season is closed from January 1 to March 10.
- How to eat
Place fresh shirasu on top of vinegared rice, add soy sauce and eat. It can be served with nori, shiso leaves, chopped green onions, egg yolk, etc. as condiments, or seasoned with mentsuyu, ponzuyu, ginger soy sauce, etc., depending on the restaurant or household.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
It is served at restaurants along the Sagami Bay coast, mainly in Shonan. In recent years, fresh shirasu has been sold at local markets and supermarkets, increasing opportunities to enjoy it at home.
Shonan Shirasu" is the generic name for the shirasu caught in Sagami Bay, and it is also promoted as a tourism resource, being selected as one of the "Kanagawa Brand" agricultural, forestry, and marine products of the prefecture, which aims to improve quality, and as one of the "100 Best Products of Kanagawa". The Kanagawa Prefecture Shirasu Seine Fishery Liaison Council (commonly known as the Shirasu Council), established by fishermen, is making efforts to promote Shonan Shirasu and enhance its image through such means as a blog that provides information on fishing conditions and direct sales, and the creation of an official song "Shirasu MY LOVE" by the Council.