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Japan Hour

A Trip To Boso Penisular

A Trip To Boso Penisular

Travelling across Boso Peninsula on a budget of 100,000 yen is the theme of this episode; a unique fishing experience and Ujo toothpicks which are works of art are among the highlights of the trip.

This week, Yoshikazu Ebisu will travel across the Boso Peninsula, from Ushigeme Beach in Kisarazu to Ogon no Yu in Kujukuri Beach. He has a travel budget of 100,000 yen and will make several stopovers along the way. If he reaches the goal by 9pm, he gets to keep the remaining money, if there is any left. From Ushigeme Beach, Mr Ebisu first takes the bus to Kisarazu Station and the ride costs 350 yen. Here, he meets Kazuko Kurosawa from the comedy group Morisanchu. They speak to a local who suggests they try out traditional sudate fishing. It is a unique way of fishing which people should experience when visiting Kisarazu. A small net is used to scoop up fish such as black porgy, dotted gizzard shad and flatfish. Sudate fishing is also used to catch luxurious fish such as sea bream and puffer fish. 

Another local recommends the duo goes to Hamaya, which offers cheap but tasty local dishes. Its popular barbeque lunchbox is a local speciality. It features charcoal-grilled pork loin with a sweet and spicy soy sauce. This dish is also loved by singer Sho Ayanokoji, who is from Kisarazu. Mr Ebisu and Ms Kurosawa buy two lunchboxes with miso soup for 1,400 yen. 

They then head by taxi to a fishing port, spending nearly 3,000 yen on the taxi fare. Ms Kurosawa wants to try out sudate fishing, which requires them to take a boat. Each boat charges 90,000 yen and can accommodate up to 25 people, which means each person pays as little as 3,600 yen to experience sudate fishing. If they decide to eat the freshly caught seafood on the boat and also take the rest of the fish home, it costs more per person. If the person chooses to just eat and not take the rest of the catch home as souvenirs, it will be 7,000 yen for each person.

Mr Ebisu decides to forego sudate fishing to save money, so Ms Kurosawa tries the experience on her own. The boat heads to a spot with several traps for catching the fish. During high tide, the fish gets trapped in the net. When it is low tide, the fish are then scooped up. One trap can catch more than 50 fish. Ms Kurosawa manages to catch lots of fish, such as puffer fish and even fatty sea bass. The freshly caught fish are prepped on the boat and she gets to savour dishes such as sea bass sashimi, clam miso soup and mixed rice with clams, a speciality of Kisarazu.

It is past noon now and their next destination is Bus Terminal Kisarazu Kaneda. Ms Kurosawa bids farewell to Mr Ebisu here. He is left with 87,000 yen. He hops on a highway bus and goes to Kururi Station. Kururi has one of the 100 best waters in Japan. There are more than 200 wells in the town and people come here from other prefectures for the water.

At Kururi, Mr Ebisu is joined by Rika Adachi and Tsubaki Oniyakko. The three of them head to the tourist information centre. They find out about Kimipyon-Go, a taxi which charges a flat rate of 500 yen per head to go anywhere within Kururi. They are also told that Ujo toothpicks are famous here. They are carved from the wood of Lindera trees using a small knife. The trio takes the Kimipyon-Go to a place where the traditional toothpicks are made. They spend 1,500 yen on the taxi ride and the remaining budget is now about 85,000 yen. The three of them get to observe how the Ujo toothpicks are handmade. They are small works of art that started during the Edo period. The handcrafted luxurious toothpicks are used at Japanese confectionery shops all over the country. They are not disposable and can be used multiple times after being washed and dried in the shade. Their price ranges from 540 yen for 30 toothpicks to 60,000 yen for a set. Mr Ebisu buys some for about 2,000 yen.

The team then asks for more recommendations and a local mentions Aisaibatake, where vegetables are grown. They take the 500-yen-per-head taxi again and go to the popular farmer's store. It sells vegetables and fruits grown with the water of Kururi. Tomato picking is a popular activity here. It costs 500 yen to go tomato picking for half an hour and an additional 1,000 yen per bag if you want to bring the tomatoes home. A variety of tomatoes are grown in the greenhouse here. They include heart-shaped tomato berries, “twinkle” mini tomatoes which are full of flavour and the sweet “fruit yellow” variety. The three team members buy nine bags of tomatoes, costing 9,000 yen in total.  

Mr Ebisu then says goodbye to his two guests and goes to the last stopover of Kazusa-Nakano Station before his goal of Ogon no Yu. He has 61,020 yen left now. His final guest, actor Masanobu Katsumura, meets him at Kazusa-Nakano Station. As this area is one of the biggest producers of bamboo shoots in Japan, digging for bamboo shoots is a popular activity here. Mr Ebisu asks a taxi driver about this and the driver takes him and Mr Katsumura to the famous Ichihara bamboo shoot farm. The taxi fare costs 1,900 yen. 

At the farm, the amount visitors pay depends on the weight of the bamboo shoots they dig. They will not know the exact size until the bamboo shoot is dug out. Mr Ebisu digs out several large bamboo shoots. He and Mr Katsumura harvest bamboo shoots worth more than 7,000 yen. 

It is past 6pm by now. Mr Ebisu and Mr Katsumura try some dishes featuring bamboo shoots at an eatery near the station. They order white bamboo shoot tempura and Otaki bamboo shoots with matcha salt. The duo speaks to another resident who recommends they go to a restaurant near Ohara Station to try some lobsters. Ohara has the highest catch of lobsters in Japan.

So at 7pm, Mr Ebisu and Mr Katsumura take the train to Ohara. Mr Ebisu is now left with around 49,000 yen. After half an hour, the duo arrives at Ohara Station. They visit the restaurant known for its lobsters. After feasting on grilled lobster and abalone, Mr Ebisu is left with about 35,000 yen. However, it is already 8.15pm by now and he must reach the goal, Ogon no Yu, by 9pm in order to keep the remaining money. Mr Ebisu has to decide whether to take the train, which is cheaper but will take longer, or a taxi which will cost around 10,000 yen but will get him there faster. After much deliberation, he decides on the latter option. Unfortunately, despite rushing to the goal by taxi, he is still 400m away from Ogon no Yu when the clock strikes 9pm. So he has to forfeit the remaining money left from the budget. 

Tips:

1)    Sudate fishing is a must-try activity when visiting Kisarazu
2)    Buy Ujo toothpicks from Kururi as souvenirs

Source: CNA

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