Where To Eat Tottori’s Delicious Matsuba Crab In Japan | CoolJapan

While Tottori is the least populated prefecture of Japan, it more than makes up with an abundance of crabs. In fact, Tottori catches the most crabs in all of Japan, three times more than that of Hokkaido. It’s no coincidence that the region’s north end borders the Sea of Japan. The pristine waters and unequalled depth provide the perfect living conditions for crabs. The unrivalled Matsuba crab, which is the adult male snow crab caught in Tottori’s winter season, is famous for its succulent meat, bursting with natural sweetness.  The peak season of Matsuba crab lasts only from early November to early March, which makes the already highly prized crab even more precious.

Matsuba Crab On Platter

Tottori catches three times as many crabs as Hokkaido and its Matsuba Crab is arguably the best in all of Japan. Photo from: ©Tottori Pref.

Because of its freshness, sashimi is the best way to taste Matsuba crab.  Another popular way is to have it in hotpot or nabe, as it’s commonly known in Japan.

The hot broth of the crab teeming with the flavours from the sea makes it a wonderful winter dish.

Savour the treasure of winter that is the Matsuba Crab in all its forms.

Where to eat Matsuba Crab in Japan

To enjoy the full spectrum of the Matsuba crab’s wonders, splurge on the special live Matsuba crab banquet at Kaike Kikunoya or Michelin two-star awarded Kaniyoshi. The luxurious set includes an unforgettable selection of Matsuba crab sashimi, crab hotpot and also features the delectable crab — both grilled and boiled.  One of the best and most unusual parts of the set is the grilled crab miso, which is actually the innards of the crab you find inside the shell.

The slightly bitter, full-flavoured crab miso is best paired with Japanese sake.

Matsuba crab is so delicious because of Tottori’s plankton-rich seafloor, which produces crabmeat chockful with flavour. With few rocky places in their habitat, Matsuba crabs have distinct slender legs, unlike Sri Lankan king crabs, for example.

Close to Sakaiminato is the Sakaiminato Direct Sales Centre for Marine Products where both residents and tourists can purchase Matsuba crabs as well as other crab delicacies directly.

Get your hands on Tottori’s most famous export and Japan’s most highly prized crab at Sakaiminato Direct Sales Center for Marine Products.

For those with a bigger wallet, how about taking part in Tottori’s winter season’s auctions? In 2019’s first winter auction, a Matsuba crab was sold for a breathtakingly record high of 5 million yen (~USD48,204). The crab created history with an unparalleled winning combination of its extraordinary size, weight, shape and colour.

Matsuba crab crates

The landing of Matsuba crab. Photo from: ©Tottori Pref.

The Matsuba crab is a must-have if you ever find yourself in Tottori during winter.  In fact, if you’re a seafood fan, make sure your trip coincides with Matsuba crab season.

A spectacular seafood feast featuring the Matsuba crab should be on the bucket list of every seafood fan.

  1. 1.Kaike Kikunoya
  2. 2.Kaniyoshi
  3. 3.Sakaiminato Marine Products Direct Sales Centre
  • Sights & Attractions
  • Hotels & Stays
  • Food & Drinks
  • Shopping
  • Services