The Miyagi's Sea and Brilliant Rice

Why Miyagi's sushi is wonderful

[Guide narration / Anthony]
The Kuroshio sea current moving northwards along the east coast of the Japanese islands converges with the Oyashio current moving south. The two meet in the sea off Miyagi prefecture, creating fisheries that produce a great variety of fish. Miyagi is also the only prefecture which has 3 large specific category fishing ports called “Tokusan” (please see below for details) out of 13 in Japan.

::image from Wikipedia
Furthermore, Brilliant white rice must be mentioned. Miyagi is the birth place of the Sasanishiki and Hitomebore rice brands, that have both established reputations for delicious rice. Super fresh fish, delicious rice and the wonderful skills of sushi chefs from Miyagi, whose knowledge of local ingredients bring perfection to Miyagi sushi. This is the reason why sushi from Miyagi is so exceptionally good.

A deep shade of black is essential

Nori seaweed and delicious soy sauce

[Guide narration / Anthony]
Nori dried seaweed sheets from Miyagi, called Michinoku Kanryu Nori, are cultured in the beautiful calm sea of Sendai bay. Miyagi prefecture is the northern most area in Japan for nori seaweed culture. The seaweed is peculiar due to its deep black color and firmness which makes it a very important item for making Nori-maki (sushi rolled in nori) or Gunkan-maki (rice wrapped with nori and the ingredients placed on the top).

Additionally, soy sauce is also the essential seasoning for sushi. It is the representative seasoning of Japanese food culture, and is now appreciated worldwide. In the world of sushi, it is called Murasaki -むらさき- (purple) because of the transparent beautiful color, and is an important condiment to enhance the sushi’s flavor. The soy sauce made in Miyagi prefecture is of an excellent quality and made with great care. It is also a must seasoning for Miyagi’s true specialty dish, Sendai Zuke-don.

The reason why Miyagi has an abundance of seafood

We have a blessed environment in Miyagi

There are about 3000 fishing ports in Japan, of which, the ports specifically designated by government ordinance for fisheries processing promotion, are called “Tokutei Daisanshu Gyoko - 特定第三種漁業 -” or “Tokusan - 特三 -”. Tokusan fishing ports are placed in 13 locations around Japan, which is 0.5% of all the fishing ports in Japan, yet these produce around 30% of the total Japanese fishery yield. Miyagi prefecture has 3 of these Tokusan fishing ports out of 13, therefore, Miyagi prefecture is the richest source of fish.

Using this fish rich environment, Miyagi Sushi Association makes every effort to be a safe, secure and delicious Sushi Kingdom.

Bowl of Zuke-sushi

Miyagi’s true specialty dish
Sendai Zuke-don

The excellent dish made with Miyagi's recovery in mind

[Guide narration / Anthony]
Dr. Kazuo Hokkirigawa from the school of engineering of Tohoku University pondered whether he could invent a tasty rice bowl dish using fresh fish from Miyagi, while he was travelling on business throughout Japan. After much repetition, trial and error, the Kaisen-don (a bowl of rice topped with sashimi) was born and became a routine meal for the Hokkirigawa family.

  One day he and Sendai city officials were having casual conversation, and came to the conclusion that Miyagi prefecture can offer great fish and rice which can be introduced to the world. Only sushi chefs in Miyagi have skills to provide these as original Sendai dishes. Then commercializing this new Sendai specialty dish was placed in the hands of the sushi chefs. They accomplished the project of Sendai Zuke-don by making the most of Miyagi ingredients, and in July 2009 the dish started being served in 12 restaurants in Sendai city. Each restaurant had their own original ingredients, sauce and presentation. Sendai Zuke-don grew a reputation and had acquired a following.

 Around this time, on March 11, 2011, the Great East Japan Earthquake struck Miyagi prefecture. The sea and land of Miyagi which provides an abundance of wonderful food encountered serious damage. Since then, Sendai Zuke-don has become a true specialty dish for Miyagi, appearing on the menus of approximately 124 sushi participating restaurants in Miyagi prefecture, and it has been served with great thought and support for the recovery throughout the Miyagi area.

Surviving 3.11

Surviving 3.11 the Great East Japan Earthquake
Current status of affected restaurants

Kesennuma branch : Having survived the earthquake disaster, the beginning of the recovery of our old hometown

"The Tsunami wave came up as high as ceiling of second floor of my restaurant, and the ground floor was completely flooded." The building of the restaurant and home of "Yu-zushi" near a fish market was destroyed by the tsunami waves. Mr. Masayuki Kato, the owner of Yuzushi, had to decide to leave Kesennuma with his family, searching for a new home and work. Kyoto welcomed them, and they spent 10 months in refuge.

In April, 2012 he returned to Kesennuma and started preparing for the reconstruction of his restaurant. He also joined the group started with members of the Miyagi Sushi Association called Nagasare Sushi Nigiriyashu. He attended public events throughout Japan and kept serving sushi as the voice of the disaster area. Finally, in May, 2014 he reopened a long-planned new restaurant in Kesennuma.

In October, he participated in a project as a host restaurant allowing tourists the experience of being a sushi chef. He gave the participants experience from stocking fish to making sushi, comparing their sushi with Mr. Kato’s at the end of the experience. Mr. Kato says "I hope they have had fun and enjoyed the most of Kesennuma". He would like to continue showing the charm of Kesennuma and hopes many people will visit Kesennuma.

32-14 Akaiwaisikabuto, Kesennuma
Closed on Sunday

Watari Branch : The restaurant that came back to life with the "Noren" that survived the disaster. (Noren is a short curtain hung at the entrance of stores or restaurants)

"Hama-zushi" a well-reputed restaurant with local specialties, such as Harako-meshi (a bowl of rice topped with salmon and salmon roe), and Hokki-meshi (rice cooked with surf clams), had its sushi restaurant right in front of Arahama port before the earthquake and tsunami disaster.

On that day, the restaurant of Mr. Masashi Ota was hit by severe shaking when he was preparing their meals. He and his wife Sawako evacuated along with his employees to a nearby elementary school. Mr. Ota, as a member of the local volunteer fire service, enforced evacuation guidance while big aftershocks were still taking place. Suddenly, the town was swallowed by huge tsunami waves and his restaurant and home were washed away. It took three days until the flood water had subsided, and he could see his family again. The restaurant site was left with nothing but a "Noren" lying on the building’s foundation, as if it were some kind of sign of support for the restaurant’s rebirth.

Facing various problems, such as a site for rebuilding and lack of ingredients, the restaurant managed to restart in a new location in April 19, 2012. It is now as busy as before the disaster, with many traveling far to eat there. He wishes for the areas revitalization strongly and said, "We would like many more people to eat our fresh dishes which are of the same quality as before the earthquake disaster."

Torinoumi Hama-zushi
18-2 Okumatazawaazahayakawa, Watari-cho, Watari-gun
Closed on Tuesday

Flooded area after tsunami waves of the 3.11

This is a map of the area flooded by the tsunami after the Great East Japan Earthquake in Miyagi prefecture. Many restaurants of our members suffered tsunami damage. However, we are strongly rising up from the disaster and providing you with more delicious Sushi than ever.

Variety of sushi and how to order

The sushi has various kinds