Monday, April 9, 2012


Just down the coast from Kamakura is Enoshima. An island accessed by a long bridge, it’s dedicated to Benzaiten, the goddess of music and entertainment. You can climb a lot of stairs to the top, or you can cheat and take the escalators (350 yen). You still have to walk back down, though. In winter, you can see Mt Fuji easily and it looks striking at sunset. It’s a lovely placed to stroll and a popular date spot for Tokyo-ites, but we are here for food! The meibutsu of Enoshima is Shirasu.

It was my first time to try shirasu, a tiny white fish, like whitebait. So I chickened out and got the boiled version on rice. I’m told they’re better raw, served separate to the rice, with a variety of condiments. I was pretty happy with my boiled version, which was mild and tasty, with a topping of nori, shiso and pickled ginger. Pour a little soy sauce on and enjoy. I’m definitely no shirasu connoisseur, but my husband swears the Enoshima versions are a bit disappointing, and the best is found in a small restaurant near Tsujido station, on the opposite side to Terrace Mall. 

Don’t confuse shirasu with shirako. Shirako (literally “white children”) is fish milt; ie, sperm. I don’t know why it doesn’t bother me to eat fish eggs, but the idea of fish sperm makes me shudder. Shirako looks like a mass of white brains or intestines. Enough said.

Update: that small restaurant near Tsujido is called Iseya. They have a website with very cute English. Apparently, the dishes are "politely burnt" and the handmade dishes are "made by much effort". And it's cheap - the shirasu or "raw young sardines" are only 600yen.  I can't wait to go! Here's the website:

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