If you are visiting Toba in Mie Prefecture to see the Mikimoto Pearl Museum or the Aquarium, find time to drop in to one of the small oyster bars serving up fresh shellfish in the JR Station Shotengai.
The row of shops is near the inland entrance to Toba station away from the sea, not the main seaside entrance near the coast where the tourist office is....on the other side. Turn right as you come up from the platforms.
Usually run by a middle-aged woman who dispenses local news along with the beers, the shops serve up delicious shellfish. Ask the kindly matron which type is "in season." The shellfish are kept in water tanks at the front of the shops and you just need to point: abalone, clams, mussels, lobsters, oysters, periwinkles, scallops, sea urchins, sazae (turban shell), whelks.
My favorite place is Mizunuma Sasaeten (水沼さざえ店) run by Mrs. Nakamura, who will be encouraging you in to her small shop as you pass by.
Tel: 0599 25 2511
There are Kinstetsu trains to Toba from Osaka and Nagoya (1 hour, 35 mins) and there are overnight highway buses from Ikebukuro via Kuwana and Tsu to Toba.
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Tuesday, September 09, 2008