Katsuura, which is famous for its hot springs, has one of the largest catches of fresh tuna landed using longline fishing in all of Japan. One way to experience the world of fishing in Katsuura is to participate in a tour of the Katsuura Fish Market (reservations required) as part of a program offered for guests staying in inns that are members of the Nanki Katsuura Hot Spring Inn Association. The tour lets you view the market at Katsuura Fishing Port, where a tuna auction is held early in the morning, while a worker from the fishermen’s cooperative explains how the system works. Rows of freshly caught tuna make for an impressive sight.
Tour of Katsuura Fish Market
At Oguraya, a souvenir shop located in front of Katsuura Station, you’ll focus on traditional Kumano whaling boats, a local toy. The boats, which are shaped like whaling boats from the Edo period, are decorated with colorful designs such as Chinese phoenixes or chrysanthemums. The proprietor paints each one himself, and if you make a reservation, you can make your own.
Next, you’ll head for Taiji while making your way past Ki-no-Matsushima Islands, a general name for a number of islands of various sizes that lie around the periphery of Katsuura Port, including Tsurushima Island, Kabutojima Island, and Rakuda-iwa. You’ll depart on an excursion boat from Katsuura Tourist Pier. The basic Route A trip includes a stop at Taiji Kujirahama Beach Park, which is where you’ll be disembarking.
Ki-no-Matsushima Islands Cruise (left photo)
Taiji Kujirahama Beach Park (right photo)
There are a number of sightseeing attractions in the area, including a whale museum, and you may want to enjoy a lunch of bread from Boulangerie Le Bois while relaxing on a bench in the park.