Fishing in Shinjuku? Who Knew?

It was peaceful, sitting there on the bench with soft shamisen music playing as I watched the pink bait at the end of my fishing line dangling in the water, but that bubble of serenity was about to be popped. Fish after fish swam right by my bait, but finally one was foolish enough to nibble, and as his fishy mouth swallowed up the bait, I yanked on the line, and he began wriggling and struggling, sending water splashing as he fought his fate, but soon the fish was scooped up into a net, where he spent his last living moments.

“Sugoi! (Amazing),” cried the people sitting behind me in our big fishing boat, as I stood with the fish in the net. I had a moment to admire my catch before the waiter took it away to fry it up.

At Zauo restaurant in Shinjuku, the first hint that this is not the usual dining experience is when you’re seated on a bench in what is essentially a giant fishing boat, surrounded by a moat filled with fish.

Fishing at Zauo Shinjuku

As close as you'll get to being out on the open sea in downtown Tokyo

For a few hundred yen, the staff will bring you a fishing pole and bait, and you can fish for what you eat. In fact, if you catch a fish you get a discount. However there are no throwbacks: you catch it you eat it.

Fishing at Zauo Shark

Even if you manage to pull this bad boy

I’ll admit it, fishing for my own fish, and watching it struggle and die was kind of strange…bordering on disturbing. If you’re a squeamish or sensitive person, I wouldn’t recommend it. Still, I figured I wanted to eat fish, and someone’s gotta kill it right? And this way the fish is guaranteed fresh.

Fishing at Zauo caught a fish

Forget catch of the day, it's the catch of the *second*

So if you’re looking to do something unusual, (possibly a bit disturbing) yet entertaining for dinner try fishing at Zauo. The location I visited was on the ground floor of the Washington hotel in Shinjuku, but there are more locations throughout Japan.

This post is part of the November 2011 J-Festa: Dining in Japan.

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10 Responses to Fishing in Shinjuku? Who Knew?

  1. Pingback: Lansete » Blog Archive » Fishing in Shinjuku? Who Knew? |

  2. Fidel says:

    Wow, this looks pretty interesting. I am definitely going to eat here next time I am in Shinjuku (which is like every weekend).

    • Amanda says:

      Yeah but ask for the waiter’s recommendation. The fish I caught was all right, but the staff recommended this smaller black fish and it was much more delicious.

  3. C Ohara says:

    Haha, wow you gotta love just how gimmicky restaurants can get in Tokyo. As much as I scoff sometimes though, I gotta admire the person who thought up these crazy ideas – and then made them real.

    Cool JFesta post.

  4. Pingback: Dining in Japan | japingu

  5. Jamaipanese says:

    now thats what I call an interesting dining experience

    • Amanda says:

      It really was! I’d never been fishing before anywhere so to do it at a restaurant was kind of weird, but definitely something new.

  6. Cheryl McLauchlan says:

    We are visiting Tokyo in August and we fancy going to this restaurant. Do the waiters speak English or would you need someone that can speak Japanese with you?

    Thanks x

    • Amanda says:

      The waiters don’t speak much English no, but they’re very accommodating. You can get by with a phrase book :)

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