Rokkasho Salmon Festival was held on October 25th and 29th this year. It is extremely popular and the main event is catching your own salmon (with your bare hands). This event is not free and you do need to buy a ticket in advance. (Tickets are appx. ¥2700). Each ticket allows you to catch one fish, so if you buy three tickets you can catch 3 fish. You only have about three minutes to catch your salmon. After that if you haven’t caught one, they will catch one for you. I did not participate because 1: no ticket 2: it is pretty cold when they hold the event 3: I’d probably get really attached to my fish. (They slaughter it immediately afterward). It’s as close to punching a dolphin in the mouth as you’ll ever get.
The first six people lucky enough to catch a salmon can enter the salmon race. The winner gets a prize. (Not exactly sure what the prize is).
After the catch you can bring your salmon to get “cleaned” (read killed). No, I’m not a vegetarian or vegan, its just amazing one minute the salmon is alive, the next it’s knocked out and then CHOP…headless. Well, that’s the best way to get fresh fish!
For those who are thrifty and like to keep warm and dry and still want salmon, there is a salmon net pull and they sell the salmon at a discounted rate. (This year they were only ¥200 each!)
There are plenty of other events that take place during the festival such as contests and entertainment. We got to see the adult and children’s Squid peeling / Naga-imo (Japanese yam) grating contest and the Rock ShuS & Rokko Jazz Band show. Other events were Shochu and milk drinking contests, dance shows, DIY BBQ, charity face portraits, bingo and different types of theatrics.
Rokkasho Town is only a 45 minute drive north of Misawa Air Base. Go out the main gate, turn left at the first light and go straight until you hit the T at the Pacific Ocean. Turn left, you will now be on Rt. 338 going north. From the T go 21.9km and turn right at the light (there will be a convenience store on the left at this light). Follow this road 6.6 km and turn right (the sign will point to the Rokkasho Village Office) follow this road 6.6 kilometers and turn right (there is a small post office on the left). This road will take you to the festival site at the pier.