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Ishikawa: Local Festival Puts Smiles on Faces, Gives Boost to Seasonal Noto Oysters

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Visitors broil fresh Noto oysters in Hakui, Ishikawa Prefecture, on Feb. 18

KANAZAWA — A festival featuring locally produced oysters was held for the first time in Hakui, Ishikawa Prefecture, starting on Feb. 18.

The two-day festival at Noto Chirihama michi-no-eki roadside facility in the Chirihama district of Hakui was packed with an array of people including families, who enjoyed chowing down on “Noto oysters,” the local specialty of Nanao and Anamizu, which are both municipalities in Ishikawa.

The event was held to promote the entire region and give as many people as possible the chance to casually enjoy oysters from the district, which is known as a gateway to the Okunoto region and is easy to get to from Kanazawa.

Noto Food, a company operating the tourism facility Noto Chirihama Rest House in Hakui, planned the festival together with the Chirihamaru Project organizing committee — a group comprising tourism companies that operate within the city.

Hakui is home to the Chirihama Nagisa Driveway, the country’s only sandy beach that is open to cars and motorcycles. Many people go there for a visit, but only a few actually take a tour of the area, and this has become an issue for the city.

At the festival venue, an oyster barbecue corner had prepared about 240 seats, along with stalls selling deep-fried oysters, oyster rice and other dishes, allowing visitors to enjoy oysters in various ways. Shiitake mushrooms and renkon lotus roots homegrown in the city were popular barbecue ingredients as well, and as the savory aroma of the oysters, squid and shrimp — that visitors had bought and broiled themselves over a charcoal fire — filled the air, they enjoyed the fare to the very last bite.

A 26-year-old company employee from Itoigawa, Niigata Prefecture, who visited the festival with three of his friends said: “They are good. I like how fresh they taste and their aroma of sea water,” while enjoying the oysters with a big smile.

“We hope that many people will enjoy these seasonal oysters to the fullest to give a boost to Noto oysters,” Kazuma Toda, 31, manager at Noto Food, said.