This past weekend I took a trip to Numazu, which is a city placed at the Western side of the Izu Peninsula of the Shizuoka prefecture. Located just two hours by train from Tokyo, Numazu is a convenient place to visit for pleasure and gourmet. And that is exactly what I went for.
The Deep Sea Museum AKA the Coelacanth Museum
This is the main entrance to the area that hosts all the restaurants. On the huge lantern it says “Numazu harbor.”
Right behind the huge lantern you will find the Deep Sea Aquarium, an aquarium specifically designated to the display and research of deep sea marine life. They are famous for housing one of the only frozen Coelacanths, a type of fish that has been around the earth for hundreds of millions of years.
You won’t be bored by the repertoire of the fish that are displayed, but I found this deep sea anglerfish that almost looked like an old man and thought it was hilarious.
There were also a number of Bathynomus giganteus (couldn’t really find any common name) kept in the aquarium.
The main gig – the actual Coelacanth – in its frozen form! It was actually pretty big in size – a lot longer than the average human.
There are actually two. It’s weird to say this but the Coelacanths were really majestic.
The canoe that the people who caught the Coelacanth were in.
There was a section where fish skeleton were displayed. Special chemicals were used to extract the bone structure of the fish in color, while still keeping its form.
I was lucky enough to see a live demonstration of a mini-experiment where the staff attempted to extract an undiluted solution from an inshore hagfish. The inshore hagfish looks like an eel, and has the ability to release this undiluted solution that when, mixed with sea water, turns into thick lotion-like goo. This lotion protects the animal by suffocating the predator.
The animal was purposely put under anesthesia, and the staff applied an electric shock to its skin. Almost instantly, a white solution was released from the animal’s body. The staff quickly took that solution and mixed it into sea water.
The experiment was a success! The water turned into a thick goo.
There’s a lot of fun stuff to see in the deep sea aquarium. Though I couldn’t take any photos of the Opisthoteuthis californiana (again, no common name for it, but it’s a type of deep sea octopus), they do have one alive, and it’s actually quite cute. So instead of a photo of a live Opisthoteuthis californiana, I took a stuffed animal version on my way out.
This is INO, a market place for trading fish. The center is in the vicinity of the aquarium.
Come early enough and you can watch the fish trading. I obviously didn’t go early enough.
This display is a collection of the families and companies that trade fish. Whoever wins the auction will have their sticker stamped on the fish.
A nice poster illustrating the different kinds of fish.
Eating Kaisen-don in Numazu
In addition to exploring the aquarium and the city, my other objective for the visit was to fill my stomach with really good seafood. I’ll list the restaurants and the content I’ve consumed.
This is the “Kaisen-don specific store.” You can get all kinds of donburi in this store. As Numazu is famous for Shirasu-don, (Shirasu is the baby form of sardines) my first lunch was raw Shirasu-don.
Dinner at the “Kamome-Maru.” I ate a general Kaisen-don.
Inside the store.
The streets of the restaurant district.
I also recommend “Samasa” located right next to the aquarium. where you can get THIS:
I ate too much raw seafood in the two days I was there.