On the banks of the river close to Urasa Station is a little restaurant that specialises in fish from the waters just beyond the terrace – Urasa Yana. They have an interesting way of catching the fish which involves a ramp across a section of the river. Unsuspecting fish that end up taking this branch invariably swim up onto the ramp and are headed for the table.
One of the most popular fish is the ayu, or sweetfish, which you often see skewered whole slowly cooking over charcoal. It feeds on moss, and this vegetarian diet means that even its insides can be eaten. Once it has been cooked slowly for almost an hour the whole fish is edible, head and bones included. It’s a popular summer snack at festivals around Snow Country.
Our lunch included a small dish of grated daikon drizzled with a sauce of ayu innards, followed by two whole ayu – a male and a female, which was full of eggs. These had been cooking around the fire of the fire pit/irori.
The restaurant also served koi carp, both as sashimi and in the miso soup which is a bit of a rarity. This koi had been swimming in the fresh water of the river continuously. Koi raised in a pond in stagnant water aren’t such good eating.