If you ever been to Japan, then you will know that it offers almost every type of food available in the world. Not only that but Japan also has many types of restaurants that are unique to the country. One of these restaurants in particular called “Zauo Fishing Restaurant” is something that I had never seen before. The concept of it is so intriguing and creative that I definitely had to try it out.
Zauo is a chain of restaurants that specializes in seafood. However it is not an ordinary seafood restaurant. The thing that is unique about this restaurant is that you can catch your own fish to eat. They supply fishing rods, bait, and the fish in the aquarium and the fun begins.
As I was walking around Osaka, I stumbled upon a weird looking restaurant with a picture of a giant boat on top. Now I have heard people talk about this restaurant before, but I had never got a chance to see it in person until now. I decided to try it out.
When I walked in, I was met with a rope sealing off the entry. You had to wait behind the rope until the hostess calls you up and brings you to the table. In front of the rope was a gigantic boat that acts as a dining area where people can sit down and eat there foods. Obviously we opted for the seat on the boat. Now you don’t have to sit on the boat if you don’t want to, they also have an option where you can sit at a table on the side of the boat.
Once you have sat down on your table, you can grab your fishing I.D that they have given you and start fishing!
My experience was a little bit iffy, I don’t know if it was the wrong time or wrong day that I came, but they just wouldn’t give me fishing bait. I noticed everybody around me had fishing bait, but when I asked for some, they kept saying “no bait for you”. I don’t know if this was cause I was an american or if it was something else. Whatever the case was, I didn’t get bait which made me kind of upset as I noticed people who came in after me had received some fishing bait.
Either way, that didn’t stop me from having my fun.
I put on the fishing I.D which is lanyard you wear around your neck, and grabbed my fishing rod. Since I didn’t have bait, the fishing rod comprised of just the rod and a string with a hook on it. This made fishing a bit more difficult as I had to literally hook onto a fish instead of them coming to me.
The restaurant has stocked plenty of fishes and also many varieties for us to fish.
Some of the fishes included:
- Rainbow Trout
- Steel head Salmon
- Striped Bass
They also have seasonal fish that they’ll bring in depending on the season.
It took me MANY tries until I caught a fish. To be honest, I don’t know what fish I caught as they didn’t label the tank. However I was very proud.
I handed the fish to the server and he asked how I wanted it cooked. I told him to do half tempura style and half sashimi. Then he took our table number and took the fish away to start cooking.
At this point, I could go back and wait at my table or I could continue on fishing. I opted to keep trying to fish. However after twenty more minutes of fishing and no luck, I decided to just give up and go back to my table waiting for my food.
It didn’t take them long to prepare, the food came pretty quickly once I sat down.
The sashimi tasted very fresh, obviously cause it was just caught and made into sashimi. Although the fish itself was decent, nothing too spectacular or anything.
The tempura we received was definitely very delicious. I ate it too fast and forgot to take a picture which I highly regret. It was so good and yummy.
After i finished both dishes, I was still pretty hungry. So I opted to order a sushi roll.
I ordered the Shrimp Tempura Roll. And let me tell you, this was the FATTEST piece of sushi roll I had ever seen. Usually I can fit a piece of sushi roll into my mouth, however this beast took 3 bites just to finish 1 piece. It was huge. And it was very very tasty.
After I finished eating, I got up to pay the check and headed out.
How it works
As soon as you enter the restaurant you’ll be met with the hostess. You can either choose to sit on a boat, dine in private tatami rooms, or a regular booth table.
Once you have sat down, you’ll be given an option of whether you want to fish for your food or just order straight from the menu. If you fish for your food, the price will be cheaper. However if you do not want to fish for your food than you’ll be paying full price for the meal. If you decide to fish for your food than you’ll be given your Fishing I.D cards and be asked if you want to buy bait or not. Then just choose your fishing rod and start fishing.
They have many different tanks, with each tank having different kinds of fish.
Here is a an example picture from the Zauo website on the fish and tank differences.
Do remember however, you are not allowed to catch and release. Whatever fish you caught is yours.
Once you have caught your fish, a server will ask you how you want the fish prepared. There are many different ways such as grilled, tempura style, sashimi etc. Once you have told him how you want it cooked, he will bring the fish away to start the process.
Now at this point you can either continue fishing for more fish or you can go ahead and sit at your table.
Overall, the quality of the restaurant was pretty good. It was a very clean place and waiters were very organized and nice.
As for the food, the fish are all fresh straight from the tank. So you know you are getting the fish as fresh as possible.
The only downside to this is that aside from the lobster and abalone, they mainly stock cheap types of fish so you can’t expect much here.
Depending on how you want it cooked and also the type of fish, the taste may vary from person to person. In my case, the fish I had didn’t taste that great as a sashimi style dish, however when it was made into a tempura, oh my lord that was the tastiest thing I had ever eaten.
So it all depends on how you want your food to be.
However you do have to know that this place is a huge chain. It’s not a place where you can get high end seafood. So don’t come here thinking you’re going to get a 3 star michelin style meal. Other than that, it is not so bad.
Would I come back?
The main attraction of this place is the fishing aspect. Food wise, it was pretty good for the price given. I think I would definitely come back and try more of what this place has to offer.
Overall it was a very fun and amazing experience. Even if I didn’t get to use the fish bait, I still loved this experience. I would definitely come back just to fish again. Hopefully next time I get to catch a different fish and try out other types of cooking methods that they have.
Also if you are interested in reading some of my other posts about traveling, you can do so by clicking these links:
- Essential steps for planning a trip
- How to find cheap flights
- There is no such thing as a perfect time to travel
Or you can check out all my blog posts by click this link.
Hope you have a safe and fun trip~