Kochi: Giant Katsuo No Tataki Sculptures at Airport; Baggage Claim Also Whets the Appetite

The Yomiuri Shimbun
A giant sculpture of katsuo no tataki is seen on a baggage carousel at Kochi Airport in Nankoku, Kochi Prefecture.

NANKOKU, Kochi — Two large sculptures of Kochi Prefecture’s local specialty — a fish dish called katsuo no tataki — have been mounted on the carousels in the baggage claim area at Kochi Airport.

Katsuo no tataki is a traditional dish featuring lightly seared slices of bonito fish served with green onions, garlic and ponzu sauce.

The sculptures were paid for through a crowdfunding initiative led by the tourism association in Nakatosa, a town known for its thriving bonito fishing industry.

Since April last year, life-sized sculptures representing katsuo no tataki — prepared by searing with dried straw — have been on display on the baggage carousels at the airport, makingg a striking impression on tourists. The latest ones are about 50 times the actual size, and weigh 12 kilograms each. They were set up on the airport’s two carousels.

The sculptures feature a plate 50 centimeters in diameter with three hearty slices of katsuo no tataki. The fresh, translucent redness of the fish and the distinctive char marks from the intense straw fire are a highlight of the pieces.

The design is enhanced with a generous garnish of locally grown garlic and green onions. The aim of the sculptures is to entice visitors at the airport to think to themselves, “Let’s eat bonito today.”

That may have had an immediate effect. A 31-year-old woman from Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, who passed through the airport on a sightseeing trip, said, “It looks so delicious that I definitely want to eat it.”