Gone clamming! (Shiohigari)

SHIOHIGARI

Courtesy of Funabashi Sanban-se Kaihin Park

Japan’s love affair with the ocean—and with seafood—takes center stage in this popular family activity, which involves digging on the beach for shellfish during low tide. The quarry? Shijimi and asari clams, which are then used to make a flavorful broth for miso soup or a nice alla vongole pasta sauce. The traditional shiohigari season is May-June, making Golden Week the perfect time to grab your kumade (rake) and get digging. Popular local spots include the Odaiba waterfront and Kanazawa Hakkei in Yokohama (on the Keikyu line). If you want to guarantee you don’t go home empty-handed, though, head to Funabashi Sanban-se Kaihin Park in Chiba, which keeps its beach stocked with shellfish.

Admission ¥420 adults, ¥210 kids. Rental kumade ¥200. 40 Ban, Shiomi-Cho, Funabashi City, Chiba. Open daily April 29-May 10, closed Mon other times. Times vary greatly with the tides. Nearest stn: Futamata-Shinmachi (Keiyo line). www.park-funabashi.or.jp/bay/index.htm (Japanese) Source: Metropolis Apr 23, 2009

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