The ama-san (female divers) house “Hachimankamado” is a popular spot among foreign tourists in where you can be amazed by the precise experience of meeting traditional Japanese female divers.

The ama-san (female divers) house “Hachimankamado” is a popular spot among foreign tourists in where you can be amazed by the precise experience of meeting traditional Japanese female divers.

An ama-san (female divers) house in where real, true ama-sans grill fresh seafood right in front of you. It’s a popular spot for foreign tourists, and a place at where you can be amazed by the precise experience of meeting real ama-sans while enjoying great, delicious food. The ama-san house “Hachimankamado” in Ousatsu, Toba-city in Mie prefecture is the perfect place for you to meet the friendly traditional Japanese female divers and enjoy delicious seafood!

Ama-san refers to the traditional Japanese female divers who dive into the sea and pick shells and seaweed for sales. The tradition is believed to have over 2,000 years of history in the country, and it’s approved as one of the intangible folk cultural properties in Japan.
Here is the English leaflet

Toba-city in Mie prefecture is the city with the highest population of ama-sans.

At the coast of “Asari-Hama” beach in Toba-city, there is a place with heart-warming smiles and relaxing talks for visitors, the ama-san house “Hachimankamado”.

Guided by the hostess and inside the house, you see the ladies cooking and preparing the meals with various tools.
A place with warm lightings and right in front of you are charcoals, barbecue nets, and Kamado, the cooking stove. All these are prologue of your rich, delicious meals coming up just for you.

Abalone! Oysters! Turban! Lot of shelled seafood!

The eye-catching bright color simply guarantees you their freshness. And they are still alive at that time! They are still breathing inside their shells.
This is now the best abalone season while winter is for lobsters. But why not both!?

And ama-sans just grill them well and nice. Nothing can be more luxurious than enjoying the sea-fresh grilled shells.
When asking what their favorite is, they just come with the same answer- “abalone!”
That’s undoubtedly because they were the ones who dived and searched for the large and special abalones.
There are no worries about the sea-smell of the abalone, the special recommendation. It’s soft but chewy, the great, salt taste is simply just-right needs no flavoring. And the taste has the same tone with shrimps and crabs; the fragrance stays in your mouth.
The turban shells also have an elegant, seaweed-like taste of fragrance. A small bite makes you feel like you are embracing the big ocean!

The popular selection of “Hachimankamado” is the “small celebration course set” which comes with 4 shell-selections, fresh sashimi, soup, rice, fruit and tea! A luxury!
In the miso soup you can find the local seaweed from Ousatsu. The bright, deep green and sea-fresh smell are just temptations for seaweed lovers. Asking why the taste is so difficult not to fall in love with, ama-sans said it’s made from lobsters and shrimps, and the miso is also made from hand-planted rice.

The eldest ama-san, who is the mother of the president of “Heikichiya”, the operator of “Hachimankamado” indeed. She is atheistic, vibrant, cheerful and happy, and she just came and sat beside us and talked like this. What a peaceful time!
“You are surrounded by grannies!” she joked.

“The scallops tastes soooo good!” And ama-san replied by telling the shell should be Hiougi-shell but not scallops. Scallops are commonly found in colder seawater in the north but Mie waters are just the perfect habitat for Hiougi, the soft and delicious shell. The salty taste is simply the best, which is a perfect match with rice! Highly recommended!
And the ama-san gathered and danced for us. The divers’ house isdignified!

The hostess showed us the messages from customers.
The message from a group with a senior lady drew our attention. It said the lady, the mother of the customer who penned down the message, couldn’t eat much while she was so attracted by the food and the happy chit-chat there with the ama-sans that she even asked for a refill!
And on that day there was a couple from Hong Kong. “The abalone and turban shells were so delicious,” they said with big smiles. They also told that there was a TV program covered the place and received much travelers’ attention. And we come to realize that good food can always go over national boundaries!

The lovely ama-san apron. A greeting message says “welcome!” and an ama-san mascot saying hello with a cute facial expression. It’s handmade, they said.
According to the ama-san, they, traditional female divers around the Ousatsu, handmade everything since the past. So, we witnessed how they keep their healthy life-style- working hard, making daily life tools, diving into the sea, and then up to the land and staying together to keep warm while chatting. This is it!

And you can see the huge number of turban shells in front of the house. Children love it, they said.

Ms Okano, a veteran ama-san with over 50 years of diving experience. She took care of the all the preparations and shell-grilling of our course set this time.
And the chitchat was so happy that we felt like we are old acquaintances. We talked and laughed, and mixed well together. A gorgeous ama-san with a beautiful, cheerful smile. She has been a tourism ambassador in the past, and she shared a lot of stories about the past of Ousatsu.

You can buy the seafood picked here as souvenir.
Aosa seaweed is healthy and delicious, recommended!

Have been playing around near the sea since small, said President Nomura.
Message with affection to the culture of ama-san and love to the sea of Ousatsu. He said his childhood snack was red sea urchin so could any other besides good food. He was raised with good food and now working to promote good food.

The vibrant and energetic exclusive shuttle bus for “Hachimankamado” with the attractive original design from the female divers.
There is also ama-san’s picture on the roof, so you can spot it even high from some buildings.
The bus is designed for social use and able to accommodate wheelchairs. We see the strong will to welcome different people from different countries, and with physical problems.

The colors are awesome. The outline of the energetic ama-san is simply beautiful.

The ama-san also guided us to the huge levee right in front of the house. The red apron and the navy kasuri fabric mix perfectly well with the blue sea and azure sky. There is a slope starts right from the entrance so wheel chair users can also enjoy this beautiful sea at Ousatsu.

The eldest ama-san is wearing a diving costume with a special summon symbol on her forehead, it is said that it’s from Haruaki Abeno, the famous esoteric cosmology master 1,000 years ago.
It is for driving devil power away. The symbol is sketched in one single stroke which means a safe and sound return after diving.
Only with the repetitive practice and continuous divings in these decades that you can have enough to share joyfully with visitors.

Here you can have a joyful, relaxing time with the ama-sans, as well as a great meal with abalone and many other delicious seafood.
In sunny days, you can also see natural, painting-like sceneries by no means created by mankind. What about an enjoyable time with a board, sparkling sea view you can only see here at this diver house?

Basic information of the ama-san (female divers) house “Hachimankamado”

819 Ousatsu-cho Toba-shi Mie Prefecture

Menu & charges
Female divers’cooking workshop (1 hr 30 mins)
2 - 3 persons: JPY 5,000 / per head (plus tax)
4 persons or above

Small celebration course meal
Celebration-like course meal
Ama-san story telling time (w/snack)

Official web site (English)

For reservation

*By driving
Approx. 15 minutes from Toba-Minami Shiraki Intersection
Approx. 30 minutes from Ise intersection (for Daini-Ise highway (2nd Ise highway))
With free parking space
*By public transportation
Free shuttle bus from Toba station (with wheel chair loading equipment)

Tourist attractions covered by this article