Tsuruga/Wakasa Gourmet Column

What is "Wakasa fugu", a luxury brand of tiger pufferfish? Four places where you can eat up the king of pufferfish.

"Wakasa fugu", a specialty of Wakasa, Fukui Prefecture, is an attractive fish with a chewy texture and protein flavor. Its simple taste with concentrated flavor makes it an excellent accompaniment to a variety of dishes such as tecchiri and tessa. Here we introduce the appeal of Wakasa fugu and local restaurants where you can eat it. When you visit the Reinan (Tsuruga/Wakasa) area of Fukui Prefecture, enjoy the taste of Wakasa fugu.

What is Wakasa fugu?

Puffer fish sashimi served in a bowl
Wakasa fugu originated in Takahama Town, Fukui Prefecture. Here we introduce the charms and characteristics of Wakasa fugu, which has a history of about 70 years.

Fukui Prefecture's brand fish farmed in the Reinan region

Wakasa pufferfish is a species of tiger pufferfish cultivated in Wakasa Bay, Fukui Prefecture. Tiger puffer is the most delicious of all edible pufferfish, and is a luxury food item known as the "king of pufferfish.
The Reinan area of Fukui Prefecture is Japan's northernmost tiger puffer fish aquaculture production area. Wakasa fugu cultivation began in 1954 with the raising of tora fugu in fixed nets in Takahama Town, and eventually spread to the entire Wakasa Bay. The characteristic feature of this fish is that it is raised in a calm cove with a long period of low water temperatures due to the melting snow in the Reinan area.
Wakasa fugu is known as one of Fukui's brand-name fish along with Echizen crab and Echizen and Wakasa mackerel.

Foods in season in winter

The season for wild tiger puffer is from November to February, but farmed Wakasa fugu is served consistently throughout the year, thanks to the ingenuity of its producers. The charm of Wakasa fugu is that it can be enjoyed not only in winter, when it is in season, but also in summer.

Good texture and concentrated flavor

Wakasa fugu is characterized by its plump, chewy texture and concentrated flavor. Because it is raised in the low-temperature water environment of the Reinan area, its meat is firm and full of nutrients. Wakasa pufferfish is low in fat, low in calories, and high in protein. The skin of the puffer fish, in particular, provides high-quality collagen, which is good for beauty and health.

How to eat delicious Wakasa fugu

Hot pot with puffer fish in it
Wakasa fugu, with its concentrated flavor, can be enjoyed in a variety of ways, from sashimi to nabe dishes. The taste and texture varies depending on the dish, so why not find your favorite way to eat it?

Tessa (blowfish sashimi)

Fugu sashimi, also known as tekkashi, is a simple dish that allows you to enjoy the true taste of Wakasa fugu. When eaten raw, you can taste the firm and elastic body of Wakasa fugu.
Tessa is characterized by thinly sliced puffer fish meat that is arranged one by one on a plate. The dish is a feast for both the eyes and the palate, with each piece beautifully arranged and looking like a work of art.

Fluffy texture|Tekkuchiri (puffer fish stew)

Fugu nabe, called tecchiri, is a hearty dish in which you can enjoy the fluffy texture of Wakasa fugu. The puffer fish meat becomes soft when cooked, giving it a texture different from that of raw tessa. Since the taste of puffer fish is concentrated in the broth, you can enjoy it to the end by adding rice to the broth and making zosui (rice porridge).

Local delicacies|Broiled puffer fish

In addition to the standard tessa and tecchiri, we also recommend stewed fugu, a way of eating fugu that is unique to the Wakasa fugu producing area. Fugu nikkeshi is a dish in which the whole bones are simmered in soy sauce, sake, and sugar. The flavor from the bones deepens the taste of Wakasa fugu.

Restaurants where you can eat Wakasa fugu

Eating a meal
In the Reinan area of Fukui Prefecture, there are many restaurants and inns that serve Wakasa fugu. When you visit Fukui Prefecture, be sure to try the fresh Wakasa fugu cuisine.

Wakasa Marine Plaza, where you can enjoy a full course meal with a spectacular view

Cuisine at Wakasa Marine Plaza

Cuisine at Wakasa Marine Plaza

Citation meta. Wakasa Marine Plaza

Wakasa Marine Plaza is a resort hotel that offers full-course Wakasa fugu meals such as tessa, tecchiri, and grilled fugu. Fresh local ingredients with high nutritional value are used. In addition to Wakasa fugu, guests can enjoy dishes that use a variety of Obama's seasonal ingredients, such as snow crab.
Koigawa Beach is a 1-minute walk away, and you can enjoy the view of Wakasa Fuji (Mt. Aoba) from the sea, so please visit on a nice day.
Address 44 Okazu, Obama City, Fukui 917-0046, Japan
Telephone number 0770-53-2100
Business hours Check-in: 14:00~ / Check-out: ~10:00
*Please confirm details in advance.
Reference site Wakasa Marine Plaza (若狭マリンプラザ)

Sushi kappou, or sushi kappou, at Taika, where you can enjoy a variety of Fukui's delicacies.

Inside the Taika store

Inside the Taika store

Citation meta. Instagram

Sushi Kappo Taika is a small kappo restaurant where you can enjoy courses and a la carte dishes of fresh local fish. In addition to the cuisine, there is also a wide selection of sake, making it a good choice for those who like to drink. In addition to the counter, a tatami room is available in the restaurant's relaxing interior, so you can enjoy your meal at your leisure.
Since the restaurant is closed irregularly, check the availability of the counter and private rooms on the restaurant's Instagram in advance of your visit.
Address Morishima Bldg. 2F, 9-8 Otemachi, Obama City, Fukui 917-0078, Japan
(福井県小浜市大手町9-8 もりしまビル2F)
Phone number 0770-52-5056
Business hours 18:00-00:00
Closed No regular holidays
Please confirm details in advance.
Reference site
Sushi Kappo Taika (寿司割烹 大花)

Directly operated by a fish farm, "Koryori Tokiwa" offers fresh fugu at reasonable prices.

Appearance of Tokiwa

Appearance of Tokiwa

Citation meta. Small Cuisine Tokiwa

Tokiwa is a small restaurant where the owner runs the tiger puffer fish farm himself. You can enjoy fresh fugu all year round at a reasonable price.
There are three course menus: "Nishikata Course" (4,000 yen), "Mizushima Course" (5,000 yen), and "Washizaki Course" (6,500 yen). In addition to standard dishes such as sashimi, tataki, and tecchiri, there are also a variety of one-off dishes such as steamed puffer fish in an earthen jar and grilled puffer fish with soybean paste. Other dishes that can be enjoyed with an abundance of local fish are also offered.
Located in the city of Tsuruga, it is a great place to enjoy a stroll after dinner.
Address 6-7 Aioi-cho, Tsuruga City, Fukui 914-0062
Telephone number 0770-22-0512
Business hours 17:30-22:00 (L.O. 21:20)
Closed Sunday
*Please confirm details in advance.
Reference site Koryori Tokiwa (小料理 登喜輪)

Akebono Ryokan, an inn boasting hospitality and superb fugu cuisine

Exterior view of Akebono Ryokan

Exterior view of Akebono Ryokan

Citation meta. Akebono Ryokan

Akebono Ryokan boasts an excellent location, right in front of Tenoura Beach. With the accommodation plan, you can enjoy fugu to your heart's content and spend a relaxing time.
Fugu, a blowfish with good meat quality grown in the low winter water temperatures of the Sea of Japan, can be enjoyed all year round. In addition to teppi, tessa, tecchiri, karaage, and grilled fugu, the restaurant offers courses starting at 8,800 yen that include carpaccio and chawanmushi. In addition to fugu, Tsuruga sea bream is also available. You can also enjoy only the dishes on a day trip without staying overnight.
Address 29-7 Te, Tsuruga City, Fukui Prefecture, 914-0845
Telephone number 0770-26-1316
Business hours Lunch 11:30-13:30
Dinner 18:00-21:00 (L.O. 20:30)
Please confirm details in advance.
Reference site Akebono Ryokan (あけぼの旅館)

Taste the premium brand fish "Wakasa fugu" at its place of origin!

Wakasa fugu, the pride of Fukui Prefecture, is a luxury brand of fish. Wakasa fugu is a cultured version of tora fugu, the "king of pufferfish," and has a first-class taste and texture. Although it is originally in season in winter, it can be enjoyed year-round in the Reinan area because of its flourishing aquaculture. There are many restaurants in the Reinan area of Fukui Prefecture where you can enjoy Wakasa fugu to the fullest! Please visit one of them.
The information is current as of February 2024. Information is subject to change without notice.
*All prices shown in the article include consumption tax.