- Getting to Know the Handicrafts Created on Yonaguni Island at the Westernmost Point of Japan
- Clothing & Yachimun pottery from the stylish [Fujii Iryoten General Clothing Store]: The more you wear them & use them, the more charming they become♪ Visit the shop in the former military housing area in Minatogawa.
An Izakaya Like This is Guaranteed Fun! Go Fishing at the Izakaya [Gurukun] (Naha City)
post : 2021.01.21 07:00
About 15 minutes by car from Naha Airport and facing the sea is Wakasa 3-chome of Naha City. The lights of the lanterns lead you to a peculiar building with a fishing boat protruding from the front. This is Gurukun, the izakaya that I’d like to introduce to you in this article. Customers can try their hand at fishing in the large tank inside, and they cook up your catch right there in the kitchen.
I immediately went inside and was welcomed by the body of the real fishing boat named Gurukun Maru, that was seen from the outside.
The first floor is the large tank, and this is where the customers fish. Swimming in the tank are Okinawa’s seasonal fish, like Gurukun (fusilier), Miibai (grouper), Taman (spangled emperor) and others. Surprisingly, most of the fish in the tank were caught by the owner of the izakaya, Okuhira-san.
I decided to give fishing a try. Rods and bait are all ready for the customers to fish, so all you have to do is dangle the bait in the water and wait for a fish to bite. I stared at the float for three minutes, then I felt a pull! I caught a grouper fish called the Miibai. In Okinawa, the Miibai are considered to be high quality and are priced a such and are known to be a very delicious white fish with just the right amount of oil.
After enjoying my fishing session and I started my way back upstairs, I spotted a huge Miibai lurking in the corner of the tank. I was told that this big Miibai has been living in this tank for about ten years now. If someone were to catch it, it would cost a few hundred dollars, so if you’re not looking to shell out that much, be sure to keep the bait away from this big guy.
When making sure you can enjoy fishing there, call them in advance and make sure that the tank has fish, because sometimes it can be empty from bad weather or days of no catch.
The Miibai that I caught was served as an Ikizukuri (sliced into sashimi and arranged in its original form). Of course, it was very fresh, in fact it was so fresh that it was still slightly moving. The sashimi was tastier than usual because we caught it ourselves! The texture and the rich flavor were wonderful and surprisingly delicious.
Izakaya Gurukun offers more than fresh fish, and has a great lineup of Okinawan dishes. One dish that’s particularly notable is their Ganso Ika Sumi Somen Champuru (the original squid ink and somen noodles stir-fry). Nowadays, you see this dish served at almost all the izakaya on Okinawa, but apparently, Gurukun was the fist izakaya to offer it on their menu. We all enjoyed the tasty dish and laughed at our ink-stained teeth.
The owner, Okuhira-san, entertained us with his funny jokes, and talked about how he worked in other parts of Japan. He gained experience in Italian, French, and Japanese cuisines, before returning to Okinawa. He always thought, “How fun it would be to go to an izakaya where you can actually fish.” His dream came true when he opened Gurukun, and this year marks the 40th year since he opened his establishment.
The “fun” that he had imagined has definitely taken root and he has repeat customers from not just within Okinawa but across Japan. His izakaya has become so popular that he receives numerous celebrities as seen on the wall displaying many autographs. When you’re in Okinawa, why don’t you choose Gurukun for a memorable experience? I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.
Address: 3-20-8 Wakasa, Naha City, Okinawa
Hours: 18:00 to 23:00 (Last Order at 22:00)
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Yu Murakami