Japan’s remote islands are full of wonders not to be found on the mainland. Lovers of seafood—and shrimp in particular—owe it to themselves to visit the island of Himeshima (“Princess Island”) just off the coast of northeastern Oita, a bucolic setting where gourmet enthusiasts can feast on some of Japan’s most delicious tiger prawns.
Whether caught wild or farmed on one of the island’s fifteen shrimp farms—covering a whopping 383,300 square meters—Himeshima tiger prawns are famed nationwide for their size and succulent meat, and there’s no better place to enjoy them than right here on the island. Adventurous diners are encouraged to try them odori (“dancing”) style—a local specialty where the shrimp are served so fresh that they’re literally still alive when eaten. For the more squeamish among you, don’t worry: they’re just as delicious as regular sashimi, salt-roasted, fried, or served in a “shabu-shabu” style hot pot.
While prawns are in season roughly from July to December, late October is the best time to visit Himeshima, when the yearly shrimp festival is held. Treat yourself to shrimp served in all styles at food stalls across the ferry harbor, then sit back and admire the traditional fox dance against a backdrop of breathtaking ocean beauty. And before you head home, a stop-off at one of the local seafood markets for more maritime bounty is a must for the road.
Hours: Hours vary by establishment.
Admission: Prices vary by establishment.
Address: 1630-1 Himeshima Village, Higashi Kunisaki-gun, Oita Prefecture (Himeshima Village Office)
Airport: Oita Airport
Hours vary by establishment.
+81-978-87-2111 (Himeshima Village Office)
Phone numbers for other facilities may vary.
From Oita Airport, it is 40 minutes by car to Imi Port, and 20 minutes by ferry from Imi Port to Himeshima.