Japanese blue crab (watarigani)
This species of crab is caught in large quantities in the Buzen Sea between Nakatsu and Kakaji. The fishing season runs from summer through winter, but the crabs are at their most delicious in the colder months.
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Marbled sole (mako-garei)
Marbles sole, fished mainly in the Seto Inland Sea, has beautiful white translucent flesh that tastes delicious. Shiroshita sole, famous nationwide, is found where abundant freshwater enters the sea at Yokoku. The flesh of Shiroshita sole is free of any muddy taste, and was a favorite of the shoguns....
In most of Japan, raising loach is primarily done in paddies, but Oita is famous for its “mud-free loach.” With Oita loach, Japan’s finest, there are no worries about agrochemicals or muddy flavor. The flesh of the fish, and even bones, are plump and soft. Loach is rich in calcium and vitamin D, and the scales and skin contain collagen, noted for its beautifying properties. Loach is prepared in a number of ways, including grilled, deep fried, and simmered with their thinly sliced burdock and cooked with egg. Loach producers periodically hold “loach workshops” with chefs and people involved in agrotourism. One midwinter day each year there is a loach-eating festival, with events publicizing the fish....
Soft-shelled turtle (suppon)
When the early 20th century food critic Kenjiro Kinoshita wrote that Oita soft-shell turtles were exceptional in flavor, he brought this food to national attention in Japan. His nephew, Oita governor Kaoru Kinoshita, directed that the Inland Fisheries Research Center be built in Ajimu-machi (now part of Usa City). As a result of aquaculture research there, a method of heating fishponds in winter using natural hot spring water was developed. Oita is one of Japan’s leading soft-shell turtle producing regions, both in quantity and quality. It has long been known that eating soft-shell turtle helps alleviate fatigue and stress; recently, it has been embraced by women as a “beauty food” because it contains so much collagen....