Ushibuka, a traditional Kyushu port town of Rich History, Seafood in Japan

Ushibuka Location

Ushibuka, situated at the southernmost tip of Amakusa Shimojima island, is a 3-hour drive (140 km) away from Kumamoto City. The town’s rich history of trade and exchange activities using ships contributed to the development of its port.

Ushibuka Seafood

Ushibuka Port holds the title of the largest fishing base in Kumamoto Prefecture, renowned for its abundant catch of seafood and marine products. The fishery-related industry serves as the mainstay of Ushibuka’s economy, with numerous seafood processing businesses utilizing the locally caught fish.

You can enjoy dishes made with fresh and lively Ise Ebi (spiny lobster) when the Ise Ebi fishing season is open from early autumn to the end of the year. There is a wide variety of fresh seafood, including Urumeiwashi (Japanese anchovy) and mackerel, that you might want to try when visiting Ushibuka.

Ushibuka History

Ushibuka Port, with its preserved old fishing village settlement, offers a multitude of scenic attractions where you can experience the maritime culture.

The narrow land area and the labyrinthine streets with houses close to each other in Ushibuka’s fishing village give the town a unique historical value and a charming aesthetic as a scenic landscape.

Ushibuka was renowned throughout Japan as a bonito fishing port during the Edo period, and in the Meiji era, it shifted its focus from bonito to sardine fishing. In addition to its role as a fishing port, Ushibuka has served as a port of call and a distribution hub. After World War II, it became an important hub connecting Kagoshima, Kumamoto, and Nagasaki, with the introduction of ferry services as a vital maritime transportation base.

Ushibuka Culture

The port culture that has been nurtured and conveyed through trade and exchange activities gave rise to the Ushibuka Haiya-bushi, considered to be the origin of approximately 50 “Haiya-bushi” styles found throughout Japan.

With its origins rooted in the fishing port, Ushibuka also holds festivals such as “Funa-oroshi” (ship launching) when a ship is launched and “Buchi-mori Iwai” where fishing nets are sewn, both of which pray for a bountiful catch.

The Ushibuka Marine Museum exhibits the history and culture of fishing from ancient times to the modern era, providing insights into Ushibuka’s rich fishing heritage.

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