Nemuro to Osake

A cozy night in with Nemuro sake and snacks

Nemuro is famous for its local sake, Kitano-Katsu. If you’re looking for a place to enjoy delicious sake and snacks, the options don’t end with the local izakaya (traditional Japanese pubs). In this seaside city, well-stocked liquor stores complement supermarkets with fresh seafood that are deeply rooted in the community and brimming with local charm. Bringing home some great ingredients, whip up some magic in the guest house kitchen and you’ll have a tasty meal on your hands in no time. Read on to find out how you can switch gears and replace the pub crawl for a cozy Nemuro night in.

  • Experiences

  • Cuisine

  • Scenic spots

  • Wild birds


Our first stop is to pick the main attraction for the night—drinks. Syusen-kan, one of the city’s liquor stores, is fully stocked with all kinds of tasty beverages from the local sake, Kitano-Katsu, to sake sourced from across Japan, to wine and beer. The store owner, Satoru Kobayashi is more than happy to help you pick out the right tipple for the night.

Syusen-kan opened in 1995 and the store has maintained a close relationship with breweries ever since. Mr. Kobayashi also often visits sake breweries. He’ll share with you not only how to enjoy different sake, but also where and how it was made and the story behind each brew.
Syusen-kan is also one of the few wholesalers of Nemuro’s local sake, Kitano-Katsu. The store stocks everything from the standard Houou and Taikai to the limited edition Daiginjo. Syusen-kan’s original barreled sake, Taruzake (720 ml) (1,210 yen), offers a whole new take on Kitano-Katsu. The sake is kept in cedar barrels, adding a moderate woody aroma to it.
The store also stocks sake in small bottle sizes, perfect for sampling any of the bottles that may jump out at you.




4-288 Horin-cho, Nemuro City
Phone: 0153-24-0931
Opening hours: Monday to Saturday: 9:00 am to 7:00 pm
Sundays and public holidays: 9:00 am to 6:30 pm

Seafood from Marche de Kitchen

Stepping into Marche de Kitchen, you’ll notice that the shelves are lined with fish and shellfish labeled Nemuro-san (from Nemuro). With surprisingly low prices, you’ll be spoiled for choice. The Fresh Fish section at Marche de Kitchen, the kitchen of Nemuro locals, stocks fresh fish that was caught in the morning. I ended up going with some Pacific halibut cut into sashimi slices and whelk, which I planned to grill back at the guest house. I had picked out the perfect appetizer to pair with the sake I had purchased earlier.

Local fish wholesaler Muto Shoten is in charge of the Fresh Fish section. Its president, Shuichi Muto goes to the fish auction every morning and picks out the best catches of the day. Freshness is key when it comes to fish. He says that it’s important to sell off the catch on the same day. He can prepare the fish how you like it and even remove the shells from the shellfish. He’ll also give you tips for the best ways to enjoy the seafood.
Being flanked by the Sea of Okhotsk to the north and the Pacific Ocean to the south, Nemuro boasts an abundance of fish. You can sense the richness of this environment as you peruse the fresh fish on offer.


Marche de Kitchen

1-32-1 Taisho-cho, Nemuro City
Phone: 0153-23-2131
Opening hours: 10:00 am to 7:00 pm
Closed: January 1st to 3rd.

Cheese from the cheese factory, Chikap

When picking out a snack to pair with sake, you can’t go wrong with cheese. Both sake and cheese are created through a fermentation process, so combining the flavors of each is bound to take your taste buds on a delicious journey. For tonight, I picked out two cheeses from Chikap, the only cheese factory in Nemuro. They were Shimaenaga, a creamy and refreshing white mold cheese, and Sippo in Oil, a salty cheese marinated in oil with oregano and pepper.

Chikap is run by Ryota and Fumiko Kikuchi . The couple moved to Nemuro   in 2011 from Tokyo, where they worked in computing. After taking on a cheese-making apprenticeship for a year and a half, they opened their cheese factory in 2013. The factory now produces five types of cheese using raw milk sourced from Yokomine Farm, a pasture-raised dairy farm next to the cheese factory.
Fishing is not the only industry in Nemuro; it’s also home to a thriving dairy farming industry. Enjoying the local cheese can open our eyes to even more of Nemuro’s charms.




Cheese Factory Chikap

54-3 Kawaguchi, Nemuro City
Phone: 0153-27-1186
Opening hours: (May to October) Friday to Sunday: 11:00 am to 4:00 pm
(November to April) Fridays and Saturdays: 11:00 am to 3:00 pm


Tiny General Store Étable & Ranch Café GrassyHill

101-21 Akesato, Nemuro City, Hokkaido
Phone: 0153-26-2798
Opening hours: 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

Maruyu, Inc.’s Hanasaki Crab Teppo-jiru

Upon opening the can, the first thing you’ll notice is beautiful chunks of scarlet-colored crab legs, floating in the soup. When the soup is heated, the aroma of the crab gently fills the air. All you need to do is add water to dilute the soup, dissolve the miso and then it’s ready. With one sip of the teppo-jiru (crab miso soup), the rich flavor of the dashi (broth) will spread through your mouth. You’ll notice that it tastes different to regular miso soup.

Hanasaki Crab Teppo-jiru by Maruyu, Inc. is a canned product that makes it easy to prepare teppo-jiru, a local Nemuro specialty of miso soup with crab. The company has been making this product ever since their founding in 1979.
Being especially particular about the manufacturing process, the cutting and canning is done completely by hand. It’s done this way to allow them to check each item individually, making sure the contents look just right.
Along with miso soup, you can use this product in all sorts of arrangements like hot pot, paella and ramen. It’s available in both a large and a small size, so it also makes for a great souvenir. Look out for cans with the vibrant yellow background and the striking image of a Hanasaki crab.

You can buy the canned soup from the following stores in Nemuro City:
Taie Nishihama Store and Chishima Main Store, Hokuren Shop Uoshin, Uoshin, Nemuro Kaisen Ichiba, Marche de Kitchen, 7-Eleven Kaigan-cho Store, Nosappu Seiboen

Guest House Nemuroman

After purchasing all the ingredients for tonight, I made my way back to the guest house. I stayed at Guest House Nemuroman, which is equipped with a kitchen that guests can use to prepare their meals. The kitchen even comes with dishes, utensils and some spices and seasonings that you can use. Another great aspect of this space is the conversations you can strike up with fellow guests.

The owner, Aiko Murata, is from Nemuro. After working in Tokyo, she made a U-turn and returned to Nemuro. She started the guest house in 2020 under the concept of “making people love Nemuro more.” She wants to spread word about Nemuro’s appeal, not only to visiting tourists but also to the local community, so she offers a delicious fish breakfast to guests and is actively engaged with the community through events.
“Nemuro’s charms are endless,” said Ms. Murata. She shared a lot of information about Nemuro with me while I was staying at her guest house. Perhaps the starting point for exploring Nemuro’s myriad wonders is here, at Guest House Nemuroman.


Guest House Nemuroman

3-33 Hon-cho, Nemuro City
Phone: 080-8287-4305
Accommodation fee: From 4,600 yen per night in a dormitory, including breakfast.
*You can also stay without meals.
*They have both a dormitory and Japanese-style individual rooms.
*Prices may change during the peak season.