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 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.
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.
(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:
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.
「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）