One thing that Ms Buddha and I both like is to try out different experiences – especially experiences that locals also enjoy – enter the Oyster Hut roam!
While researching for things to do for our Japan trip, I came across “Itoshima Kakigoya” which refers to the Oyster Huts that are dotted around the coastlines outside of Fukuoka and all the way down South close to Nagasaki.
Firstly, these huts are actually quite hard to find if you solely converse in English, so hopefully, the map below will help at least a little.
The way GPS works in Japan is that if you have a phone number of the store/hotel you want to go, you just key in the phone number and it will take you there. The problem with using this method to find these Oyster Huts is that their numbers aren’t registered, so the GPS might return blanks.
The way we located these huts was by employing the skills of Ms Buddha Chinese and my horrendously broken Japanese to enter the location by Japanese characters – eventually we got there. In hindsight, I’d search the area for a store nearby (restaurant/museum) and then just key in their number to at least reach the area.
Once you arrive, you will be met with many many huts lined up with a person standing in front of them yelling for you to come in.
We went for the age old method of selecting which store to go to, and that was to select the store with the most people already in it.
Once you enter, the host offers you a jacket to wear (in our case the red ones) – and no, they are not there to keep you warm (although it does) – these jackets are to protect you from the squirting oysters and also the coal dust that flies around as you cook. I highly recommend you take a coat if you don’t intend to get your own clothes dirty – plus, the jackets are in vogue inside the tent!
We were guided to one of the tables and provided with the oyster shucks and also gloves (please also use these as the oysters do get incredibly hot after sitting on the flames).
In terms of ordering, if you’re from Hong Kong, you’ll be familiar with the whole “order by ticking a piece of paper” method. There’s also a fully Japanese menu to accompany it and plenty of photos around the walls inside the hut to help you decide.
For this, we ordered the “A set” which came with 1kg worth of Oysters; 2 scallops; a large 1 day dried squid and 2 bowls of rice. As a little extra, I also ordered a set of 4 mini sausages. There’s also a minor charge for the coal (think of it as carbon offset and cleaning fee).
When the oysters come, they come in a bucket, although 1 kg sounds like a lot – when they include the shell – it works out to be about 12-14 oysters – which is still bargain when you think about the whole set only costs 2,000 yen (135HKD).
To cook them, you basically just throw the oysters onto the grill and just wait for it to cook, we started with just 4 oysters but then decided to speed things up by adding the rest of the items on.
You really don’t need to do anything with the Oysters, you just throw them on an wait – it takes about 5-10mins and you should start hearing the oysters spitting, because of the heat and the built up pressure inside, the oyster will open itself and you just need to pick it up and lift the shell opened with the shuck provided.
One thing to be mindful of is the fact that some of the oysters really do explode, we were lucky to not have any exploding on us, but we heard the loud “Crack” and “Pop” from the other tables.
If you do go, I suggest you order the “1 day dried” squid – it smells great when cooked and also taste wonderful!
After our meal was over, we had a bit of a roam around the area, it’s always nice walking around the coastline and seeing some of the behind the scenes items:
If you’re planning to visit Fukuoka and Nagasaki, and you’re driving, the Oyster Huts experience is definitely something that you should try provided that you enjoy seafood. It’s a great way to enjoy the local food scenes with the locals and in terms of pricing, definitely on the bargain side.