Mission : Shiohi-gari!

According to Cambridge dictionary,

a feeling of sadness about something sad or wrong or about a mistake that you have made, and a wish that it could have been different and better

is a definition of the word “REGRET”, which exactly represents the feeling which we had after putting the plan of Shiohi-gari into practice. We will never tell you how old we are but we regretted the loss of some decades that we’d spent without knowing the excitement that Shiohi-gari could bring us.

All that we had in our mind of Shiohi-gari was as below;

shiohigari

Shiohi-gari place during Golden Week (spring’s holiday season)

Millions of people on the beach under the sun, digging the sand seeking for some shells…

We should be feeling nothing but idiots.

Though…., many people are there, because “fun” and “excitement” should be there!

We should have thought more strategically to avoid being among millions of people and to skim the cream off the top to enjoy the excitement that ought to be there… And it was quite easy.

Go there while majority of people are at the office or school, which means on weekdays in early spring!

People say, “Better late than never.” If you have never experienced the excitement of digging clams, Shiohi-gari, why don’t you try at least once to give out your comment?

 

If you have no idea about Shiohi-gari, please refer to our past article “HOW TO ENJOY SPRING SEASIDE JAPANESE STYLE” to obtain the basic knowledge.

 

According to our research, Shiohi-gari activities can be divided into two categories; “Charging” or “Free of charge”. To enable you to choose one easily, we went to both types and here are the summaries of our experiences;

 

○ A TOLL SHIOHI-GARI SPOT

-Place: Hashiri mizu beach (Yokosuka, Kanagawa Pref.)

-Access:
1. By train : Take Keikyu Line and get off at Umabori Kaigan Station (馬堀海岸).  Then take Keikyu Bus heading for Kannonzaki (観音崎) and get off at Ise-cho (伊勢町).
250px-Yokohama-Yokosuka_Road_Route_Sign.svg
2. By car : Take Yokohama-Yokosuka Road and get off at Umabori kaigan IC (馬堀海岸). Go towards right for about 1km heading for Kannonzaki (観音崎).

-Charge : 1200 yen for adults, 600 yen for kids under 12 years old

-Limit of clams for you to takeout within the charge : 2 kg for adults and 1 kg for kids
*In case you are so lucky that you get more than this limit, leave the excess on the beach or pay 600 yen per 1 kg for excess charge to take them all.
hashirimizu_beach_01
-Type of shells: Asari clams (Venerupis_philippinarumW)

-After you park a car, or get off the bus, walk on the narrow path following these banner flags. It was pretty difficult to find the entrance but be patient and keep going the narrow passage. You will find several houses or warehouses where they are drying sea weeds. You may enjoy yourselves also getting lost in unfamiliar sights of the place compared to the cities. There’s only one entrance around here of the place, do don’t worry.  If you get worried, just ask someone saying, “SHIOHI-GARI”. They will take you to the entrance for sure!
Here is the entrance. It’s simple looking. The Kanji “受付” is the key.

hashirimizu_beach_04

 

hashirimizu_beach_07
Pay the charge at the table, and get the ticket, which you should put on to prove that you have paid the fee. This certifies you as a proper “Shiohigarist” or “Shiohigarer” but not a poacher.

Get a rental handy rake (100 yen) and a basket (free) if you don’t have your own. Off you go to the beach!

 

 

 

 

Unlike the photo you saw at the beginning, the beach is quiet, with some people whose outfits seem very professional.

hashirimizu_beach_10

 

The beach is quite rocky. So don’t forget to bring fishing boots or beach sandals. Or Crocks will do. We hesitated a bit on telling you the key point of Shiohi-gari several days ago because we are virgin Shiohigarists, but now that we’ve learned,  at rocky beaches, the key is to remove rocks and dig the sand underneath. That’s exactly where the clams hide and you will be able to get many clams there!

-The result :
We got about 4 kg of clams in total, so it was within the limit.
hashirimizu_beach_09 (1)

 

-A doubt :
We could catch as many clams as possible. Was this because we have paid for?? Some people would think so but we don’t. We saw some people who went home with a basket quite empty and also some people who were paying extra. So it depends on how we dig… We heard that they sometimes scatter clams for people coming. They do it on weekends in late season when most of the clams are caught.
However, we don’t think it is a ‘lady-thing’ to think if you can recover your expense or not… It would be elegant to consider the charge as a tip for the people of the local fisherman’s union who take care of the beach.

Moreover, an expert can tell. We heard that you can tell where the clams come from just by looking at the colours and shapes of the clams.

 

○ SHIOHI-GARI, FREE OF CHARGE

-Place : Ooarai sun beach (Ooarai, Ibaraki Pref.)

-Access :
1. By train : Take JR Hitachi Line (常陸線) and get off at Mito (水戸). Change to Kashima Rinkai Tetsudo Ooarai Kashima Line (鹿島臨海鉄道大洗鹿島線) or take a bus heading for Aqua World to Ooarai (大洗).
250px-Kita-Kanto_Expwy_Route_Sign.svg
2. By car : Take Kita-Kantō ExpresswayW and get off at Mito Ooarai IC (水戸大洗) or Higashi-Kantō ExpresswayW at Itako IC (潮来).

 

-Limit of clams you can bring back home: 1 kg

-Type of shells : Hamaguri clams (Meretrix lusoriaW)

-There is no items or tools available for rent, so don’t forget to prepare, at least, a handy rake, a basket, and a bucket.

-The characteristic of the beach :
A beautiful long sandy beach where surfers and Shiohigarists are coexisting.

ooarai_beach_02

 

-The key point is, fist of all, you should target where you dig among such a long beach. It was really difficult for us, the virgin Shiohiarists. All we could do was to follow the people who looked like “professionals”. We dug the sand near them and learned how to dig well and and knew where clams were hiding. We also learned the high technique; at the very edge of water, you have to see very carefully on the sand after the wave is gone. You will sometimes find small holes. They are the holes made when clams breathe!

The result ;
ooarai_beach_06

It was not the best but we think it was not that bad for us, the beginners!

○ Today’s summary

We have been living with blessing of nature, especially from the sea. We can easily imagine that in some places beside the sea, it should have taken time for the agriculture to pervade because people were able to live on only with what the sea provided and some nuts that forest provided in ancient times.

We think that the damages we suffer from a disaster caused by a natural phenomenon can be healed by human relations, while the damages that we suffer from something related to human relations can be healed by nature.

If you get tired in social problems, go into the mountains or go to seaside. The nature will carry off all the invisible refuse stuck in your mind. Let it go. But don’t leave behind the visible refuse in nature!!! You are responsible for it.

We are living in nature, which means we are a part of nature. Nature gives us what keeps us alive. So we have to give back nature what keeps it alive with respect. Otherwise, we will get retaliated by nature, that’s tit for tat.
ooarai_beach_08

 

To pay for Shiohi-gari or not paying, that is a question. But you can decide thinking how much you want to bring the clams back home and how much skill you have. We found the both were fun. The most important thing on Shiohi-gari would be ‘when’ you go.

If you feel like trying Shiohi-gari, you should check the tide before everything.
http://www.tide-forecast.com/

You can do Shiohi-gari two hours before and after the lowest tide.  That means you’ll have 4 hours in total if you arrive at the place on right time!

For your further information, here is the list of the days preferable for Shiohi-gari at Hashirimizu beach.

The time indicated is the time of the lowest tide with recommendation signs, ○ : means good and ◎ : means very good days for Shiohi-gari.

April
29 (tue) 10:39 ○
30 (wed) 11:12 ◎

May
1 (thu) 11:46 ◎
2 (fri) 12:22 ◎
3 (sat) 12:59 ○
4 (sun) 13:39 ○
14 (wed) 10:46 ○
15 (thu) 11:21 ◎
16 (fri) 11:56 ◎
17 (sat) 12:33 ◎
18 (sun) 13:11 ○
28 (wed) 10:20 ○
29 (thu) 10:56 ◎
30 (fri) 11:32 ◎
31 (sat) 12:08 ◎

June
1 (sun) 12:45 ◎
2 (mon) 13:23 ○
12 (thu) 10:31 ○
13 (fri) 11:08 ◎
14 (sat) 11:44 ◎
15 (sun) 12:20 ◎
16 (mon) 12:57 ○
26 (thu) 10:05 ○
27 (fri) 10:43 ○
28 (sat) 11:20 ◎
29 (sun) 11:56 ○
30 (mon) 12:32 ○

 

Good luck!

Vongole


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