Echizen crab(gani): The only crab that’s been presented to the Imperial House of Japan

Echizen Crab1
(source: Fukui Photo Gallery)

November/1/2020

Every winter a lot of tourists come to Fukui to eat Echizen crab, which is called 越前ガニ, or Echizen gani, in Japanese. (Echizen is the name of one region in Fukui and Gani means crab in Japanese.) It’s a well-known Fukui specialty.

Echizen Crab2
(source: Fukui Photo Gallery)

Echizen crab is a male snow crab caught in the sea near Fukui. The females are called Seiko-gani, and they’re smaller than Echizen crabs.

They’re usually caught between November 6th and March 20th. If you want to eat the crabs in Fukui, you should come here at this time of year.

Echizen Crab3
(source: Fukui Photo Gallery)
Echizen Crab4
(source: Fukui Photo Gallery)
Echizen Crab5
This is boiled crab. (source: Fukui Photo Gallery)
Echizen Crab( Kanimeshi)
This is crab rice. (source: Fukui Photo Gallery)
Echizen Crab( kani-jiru)
(source: Fukui Photo Gallery)
Echizen Crab6
(source: Fukui Photo Gallery)

You can eat the crabs in a lot of ways: boiled; kani-meshi, or crab rice, which is shredded crab over rice; crab sushi; crab tempura; and kani-jiru, or crab leg miso soup. Boiled crab is said to be the most delicious, but I really like crab rice, too. You might like crab tempura or crab leg miso soup.

Echizen crab has two unique characteristics.

(1)It’s delicious.

(2)It’s the only crab that’s been presented to the Imperial House of Japan.

Some people think that it’s one of the most delicious crabs in Japan. There’s a lot of slightly sweet meat in the crab’s long legs and a lot of rich taste in the crab miso paste, which comes from the crab’s internal organs inside the shell.

Q. Why is Echizen crab so tasty?

A. There are a few reasons.

(a)The Echizen coast, where the crabs are caught, is a good environment for them. The shape of the bottom of the ocean is like big steps where lots of seawater flows in, so the crabs have lots of food.

(b) You can eat them fresh in Fukui. The fishing area is near the coast, so the crabs are shipped fresh to distributors and restaurants.

(c)Fukui has a tradition of eating crab. It’s one of the oldest places in Japan where people catch snow crabs, so the people of Fukui know how to catch them, how to store them, how to boil them, and how to eat them.

There are about 1,000 kinds of crabs in the sea near Japan. Among them, Echizen crab is the only one that’s been presented as a specialty by Fukui Prefecture to the imperial family(including the emperor and empress) at the imperial house of Japan in about 100 years. This is one reason why the crab is well known around Japan.

Q. Where can you eat Echizen crab?

A. I found some restaurants and hotels with English websites where you can eat the crab in Fukui.

In Fukui city: Iwashiya (いわし屋)

In Awara Onsen:

Grandia Housen (グランディア芳泉), Matsuya Sensen (まつや千千), and Mimatsu (美松). Awara is well known for its hot springs, which have a 135-year history. The hot springs in Awara are among Japan’s top 100.

In Mikuni: Bouyourou (望洋楼), Chihiro Inn (ちひろ), Tojinbo Onsen Mikuni Kanko Hotel (三国観光ホテル) , and Kyukamura Echizen-Mikuni (休暇村越前三国)Tojinbo, one of the best sightseeing spots in Fukui, is in Mikuni. There’s also a hot spring, or onsen, in Mikuni called Mikuni Hot Spring.

Echizen crab is expensive, but if you’re interested, you should try it. It’ll be an unforgettable experience.

(References)

「和食は福井にあり」(向笠千恵子)(平凡社)

「福井「地理・地名・地図」の謎」(編:実業之日本社)(実業之日本社)

「希望学あしたの向こうに」(編:東大社研、玄田有史)(東京大学出版会)

「越前がに 福井県 越前三国」(坂井市観光連盟、坂井市三国観光協会)

「カニという道楽」(広尾克子)(西日本出版社)

「科学の目でみた越前がに」(今攸)(今攸)

Author: Taru

Thank you for visiting my site. I was born in Fukui, and I now live in Fukui. I would like to know more about Fukui, and I also like to tell people around the world about Fukui. My hobby is reading books. I practice and learn English every day. This blog's articles are checked by native English speakers.

4 thoughts on “Echizen crab(gani): The only crab that’s been presented to the Imperial House of Japan”

  1. Thank you so much for the info. I live in Vancouver, BC Canada. I was lucky enough to find a sushi place who imported seiko gani. I will get to try it tomorrow.

  2. Thank you so much for all your posts about Fukui! I lived in Fukui for two years, and now I am back in Toronto. I miss it so, but seeing your posts make me feel so happy and nostalgic.

    1. Thank you for your comment! I’m happy that you enjoyed my posts. I was surprised to know that you lived in Fukui before. Thank you for reading the posts.

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