Sizzling hot, wire-net grilled seafood is so delicious! Let's go to try the Amagoya (woman divers hut) experience!

Sizzling hot, wire-net grilled seafood is so delicious!  Let's go to try the Amagoya (woman divers hut) experience!

Do you know what "Ama" is?
Ama is a woman who dives into the sea and catches shellfish or seaweeds.
Women divers are registered as Japan's Intangible Cultural Heritage and there are only a few places in Japan where there are women divers.
The places where the largest number of such rare women divers are still actively working are the Toba and Shima areas.
Their technique to catch shellfish like abalone or turbos or Ise lobsters in a dive of about 50 seconds without an oxygen tank is simply remarkable!
The reason fishing by women divers have been continuing since the old days is because the promise such as "not to catch until the shellfish or lobsters are grown" has been kept among all the parties concerned so that the species will not become extinct.
This is a traditional fishing method that shows consideration for nature and offers gratitude to the blessings of the sea.

What is a "women divers hut experience"?

What is a "women divers hut experience"?

Along the shores of Toba and Shima area, there are women divers huts where women divers use to rest their bodies. 

"Women divers hut experience" is eating fresh shellfish caught in that morning by the women divers still actively diving. 

The shellfish will be grilled on a wire net in a rustic hut. 

There are largely two sides to the attractiveness of the women divers hut experience.  

Firstly, you are able to eat the fresh, live shellfish grilled sizzling hot on a wire net. 

You will be able to eat the shellfish at the best tastiest timing since the women divers, who are experts of seafood, will be cooking for you at the hearth. 

Secondly, the elderly healthy women who are actively working as divers will entertain you with their cooking. 

They will tell you lots of interesting stories such as their experiences during fishing and the best way of eating each type of shellfish or fish. 

Because the women divers speak in Japanese, you will need an interpretor in order to understand all the details of what is being told. 

Nevertheless, the communication with the women divers is popular among the foreign tourists also because they think talking with the old women divers who are always laughing and smiling cheer them up and they could also experience a different culture.

Fresh fish and shellfish just caught from the sea are so delicious! 

The smell of charcoal fire is also superb! You will be able to eat different seafood of the season such as Ise lobsters, abalones, live turbos, Mimachlamys nobilis (a type of scallops) and short-necked clams.

These are the Minachiamys nobilis. 

The colorful shells with the colors like scarlet, yellow, light red, white, orange and purple are characteristic. The taste is rich and deliciious!

Depending on the season and the tour plan, you might be able to eat Ise lobster, which is an expensive seafood!

Experience the woman divers hut at "Hachman-kamado"!

Experience the woman divers hut at "Hachman-kamado"!

In Toba and Shima areas, there are several woman divers huts, but this time we will be introducing "Hachiman-kamado". 

A shuttle bus with a drawing of woman divers on the body travels between Toba Station and Hachiman-kamado in approximatey 30 minutes. 

If you wish to be picked up by the shuttle bus, please make a reservation when reserving the menu.

After travelling for about 30 minutes on a vehicle from Toba, you will cross the winding mountain pass through a deep forest, and a view will open up widely ahead of you. 

As you continue to travel further with the vast ocean on the side, you will arrive at the woman divers hut, "Hachiman-kamado", in the town of "Osatsu", where it had been flourished with the woman divers fishing.

First of all, you might wish to take a picture at the comic foreground of woman divers.

When you enter inside, you will see a cooking stove with charcoals and a grill. 

While you wait, your expectations will build up and looking at the woman divers who will be preparing the meal, you will wonder, "What will they cook for me?". 

The woman divers' recommendation is abalone. 

They say when they find a large abalone at the bottom of the sea when they dive, their happiness is something special.  

The woman divers who are experts of seafood will grill by hand right in front of you the shellfish or fish caught in the sea that morning. 

The smell spreads in the air reminiscent of barbecue on the beach which arouses the appetite. 

Even without using any seasonings, thanks to the natural goodness, the saltiness is just right and the clam is so juicy and superbly tasty! 

It is such a luxury to be able to eat such a fresh shellfish right after being grilled, sizzling hot.

The popular menu at "Hachiman-kamado" called "Celebrity Course" comes with 4 kinds of shellfish, fresh sashimi, miso soup, steamed rice, fruit and tea.

The miso soup, which uses Ise lobster as the broth, has "aosa", or green alga, the local product of Osatsu, in the soup. 

Since aosa has a bright and dark green color and also the smell of ocean, people who like nori (seaweed) would love it so much. 

There are also cuts of lobster in the soup. 

The miso for the miso soup is also home made. 

All the ingredients are natural, good tasting and healthy.

There are other various kinds of plans being offered.  

The plan that is popular among the foreign tourists is "Experience a tea time (with sweets) with the woman divers". 

The woman divers speak in Japanese but even if you cannot understand the language, the friendly, cheerful and happy woman divers should leave you a good memory of the visit to their hut. 

While you listen to the woman divers, you would start to feel as if you had known them for a long time. 

If you have an interpretor or a tour guide who speaks English with you, you will be able to hear from the woman divers, for example, about their real life outside from tourism, or about what it is like to dive and to catch shellfish without any oxygen tank. 

These are interesting topics and surely enhance your experience of a different culture.

You can purchase the marine product that was caught in the nearby sea as a gift. 

Aosa (green alga) would be handy as you could get enough nutrition even in the busy morning by adding a small amount in the miso soup. 

And, last but not least, it tastes good!  

Aosa can be recommended because it matches any type of miso.

The woman divers' cute aprons are handmade. 

On the apron, there is a welcome greeting in Japanese, "Irasshaimase" (welcome). And on the side, there is a mascot of a woman diver bowing.

According to the woman diver, the woman divers of Osatsu have been making everything by themselves since the old days. 

They made it an everyday routine to move their hands and fingers to make things they need, dive into the sea as their job, and after they come out of the sea, they would warm themselves while having conversations among fellow woman divers. 

All these are probably the tips of how the woman divers maintain their health.

There is an embankment that stretches along the shore right in front of "Hachiman-kamado". 

The red color of the apron and the deep-blue-colored splashed pattern on it match very well with the blue sea and the sky. 

What exist in this place are the great tastes of the catches from the sea such as abalone for one thing, but there is also the pleasant time you spend with the warm and friendly woman divers. 

On a sunny day, you will also see a view like a painting which could only be created by nature's hands, not by human hands. 

Wouldn't you like to spend a precious time that you could only experience here, with a beatiful view of the vast, glittering ocean surface in front?

Tourist attractions covered by this article