Toyama fishermen hope to lure diners to save local fishing port

Courtesy of Mizuhashi Shokudo Gyofu
A parfait-like fish rice bowl

TOYAMA — Volunteer fishermen belonging to the Mizuhashi fishermen’s union in Toyama opened a restaurant in late October, serving dishes using fresh fish from the local Mizuhashi fishing port.

They hope many will gain a better familiarity of the fisheries industry while enjoying the taste of fish caught in Toyama Bay.

“We would like to make the restaurant a place for people to enjoy great fish locally caught,” said Hisanori Abe, the president of a limited liability company that operates the restaurant.

‘Parfait’ perfect for posting

The restaurant, Mizuhashi Shokudo Gyofu, is housed in a building opposite the office building of the fishermen’s union. It was used by the Toyama city fishermen’s cooperative before being renovated into the restaurant.

The restaurant offers a fish rice bowl decorated like a social media-worthy parfait and dishes using fish rarely put on the market because they are small or are difficult to clean. Videos showing the fishing activities of Abe and other fishermen are played inside the restaurant so customers can see fishermen’s work.

Fewer and fewer people are working in the fisheries industry nationwide, and the Mizuhashi fishermen’s union is no exception.

“If nothing is done, the Mizuhashi fishing port will cease to exist,” Abe said. “I wanted to change people’s preconceptions of the fisheries industry.”

For about seven years, Abe has hosted events to experience beach seining for families. He also has donated locally caught fish for elementary school lunches and organized events to offer local residents dishes using locally produced fish.

While working, he said he heard some parents, children and local residents participating in his events say there was no place where they could eat fish caught in the Mizuhashi district. Having decided to create a place where local residents and tourists can drop in, he began last year preparing for the restaurant’s opening. In his spare time between fishing, he serves customers at the restaurant.

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Hisanori Abe is seen in front of Mizuhashi Shokudo Gyofu in Toyama.

“The restaurant is a culmination of my efforts,” he said. “I hope the restaurant will become a place where people can talk directly with fishermen and easily drop by.

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Hisanori Abe is seen in front of Mizuhashi Shokudo Gyofu in Toyama.