Osatsu Beachside BBQ & Town Walk

Osatsu Beachside BBQ & Town Walk

Visit Osatsu in southern Mie and experience the beautiful and delicious AMA culture firsthand as you enjoy a BBQ next to the ocean and visit a historical shrine. You can also learn about the AMA culture at a small visitor’s center as well as around town on a guided tour!

Written by Dan Lewis

-Author's Introduction
Originally from the state of Alaska in the USA, Dan Lewis is a long-term resident of Japan. He has lived in Mie, Ishikawa and Gifu Prefecctures, and currently resides in Nagoya, the capitol city of Aichi Prefecture. Dan is an avid fan of technology and nature - two areas that Japan is blessed with! He loves taking "the road less traveled" and discovering new places.

Wanting to learn more about the wonderful AMA culture, we decided on a seafood BBQ by the ocean and guided tour in the coastal area of Osatsu in southern Mie.  What we got was an unforgettable experience that is fun to share with friends and family.

We drove to the Osatsu and parked at the wharf.  We walked for about 2 minutes along the shore until we arrived at a small hut about 10 meters or so above sea level.  Somatsu Kamado, the bbq hut / restaurant is tucked in a small corner on a small peninsula reaching out from the Osatsu beach area and has a wonderful view of the ocean.

The hut is located only a few meters from a steep staircase leading down to the beach and has large glass-less openings that provide a good view from inside while you enjoy your lunch.

The layout and menu was different that my previous experience having a seafood bbq with the AMA san.  Here, narrow tables were set around one, large bbq grill in the center of the room. The tables were slightly higher than knee height, and the grill was a bit higher than the floor.  This was the opposite of what I saw before, where the table was higher, more stable and spacious, and the grill was nearly the height of the table and the AMA san could cook while standing.  But this design was done so that visitors could see the ocean from any seat in the room.

The menu consisted of 4 different options.  Japanese, Jibie, American and Vegetarian. The “Japanese” lunch had the most seafood, as well as sea-urchin mixed rice.  The “Jibie” lunch had seafood and venison from locally caught deer. The “American” lunch had a bit of seafood plus some delicious ham and sausage, as well as a fried rice ball.  The “Vegetarian” lunch was essentially rabbit food. All options included a small salad, a small seaweed dish, as well as tea and other drinks.

The view from the bbq hut was fantastic!  Enjoy this view, and staying out of the direct sunlight was relaxing and made everything taste so much better!  I would have been happy to just relax here for several hours enjoying drinks and chatting with the other travelers.

And for those who like to try local brews and spirits, the AMA ladies are ready!

The AMA ladies are very friendly and provide such warm hospitality! The food was good and the view was great, but it was the ladies and their kind service that made it so special! Towards the end of the meal, they told us about some of their routine activities throughout the year. The harvest of one product, hijiki, a kind of seaweed, requires cooperation of the entire family. It was interesting to listen to explanations of the decorations used inside and outside the bbq hut. You can see some of the decorations in various photos.

After lunch, we went on a guided tour of the Osatsu Beach and town. As we visited several points of interest, we learned about some of their myths and legends, such as those of a goddess arriving to the area via a whale. We also learned some surprising facts - like the AMA usually get married around 20 years of age, and it is generally an arranged marriage.

We had learned that fishing rules vary slightly area to area, so this was a good opportunity for me to ask.

We visited the Osatsu AMA Museum, which also acts as a visitor’s center. Here you can find all sorts of information on Osatsu and the greater Ishe-Shima area.

There are also a few displays and several photos demonstrating the AMA divers in action, so if you aren’t able to actually go diving with them, you can get an idea of what they do deep down in the water.

Nearby is the Shinmei Shrine, an important shrine to the AMA people, and affectionately referred to as “Ishigami-San”. Actually, you can find shrines from a variety of religions or sects here. It’s almost a “shrine shopping mall”. This particular shrine is famous for granting one wish to women.

In one shrine, there were some porous rocks on display that were believed to heal sinusitis and other similar ailments. The water pressure encountered while diving caused many AMA to suffer pain in their sinus and ear canals. These rocks, also with holes or tunnels in them, were held up to the afflicted areas in an effort to relieve the pain.

It was a short walk between “Ishigami-San” and the visitor center, and you can find a few souvenir shops along the way. I enjoyed the beautiful AMA themed art in and around the shopping area.

Overall, I thought the town and shrine were interesting but it’s certainly more enjoyable with a guide who can explain the culture and answer your questions.

Tourist attractions covered by this article