The number one seafood store – Sasue Maeda fish market

The number one seafood store – Sasue Maeda fish market

Yaizu in Shizuoka prefecture has three ports which are collectively known as Yaizu Gyoko (fishing port), and ranks as one of the top seaports in Japan. The ports are known for shirasu (young sardines), Sakura shrimp, bonito, tuna, mackerel, and Spanish mackerel. Located within minutes from Yaizu seaport, Sasue Maeda Fish Market is always crowded from the minute it opens each morning. Due to its location, the selection is plentiful, and the prices are cheap, but that is not the only reason this store has been so popular for more than 60 years. The fifth generation store owner, Naoki Maeda, is known as the number one fish store and has the trust of the nation’s leading chefs. His client list includes the top tempura restaurant “Naruse” (Shizuoka), Michelin three star restaurant “Sushi Yoshitake”, “NARISAWA”, “DEN”, “Kiyama”, and Hong Kong “Shikon” among others.

“My mother would carry me on her back and feed me pieces of fish for as long as I can remember. Of course, I ate it as is without any soy sauce. That’s probably how I learned the true flavor of seafood. To this day, the most delicious seafood I ever ate was octopus sashimi that I had as a kindergartner. I still only eat seafood. That’s because I only want to sell what I find to be delicious.” (Mr. Maeda)
In the stock room, he prepares the seafood to be shipped out around the nation and abroad.

“A seafood store owner doesn’t just buy and sell seafood. I look at the weather forecast to predict what kind of fish will be caught in different locations. I also think about how the seafood was caught, to figure out how to prepare and store the seafood. The stress level should be minimal until the seafood reaches the table. My job is to think about how to make that happen.” (Mr. Maeda)
He’s also thinking about what happens after the seafood reaches the restaurants.

“I think about how and when the seafood is going to be prepared and served. I also look at the skills of the chefs and the condition of the refrigerator. I want to go beyond just selling seafood.” (Mr. Maeda)
He is known as number one in Japan because of his amazing technique. Taking a large and lively flounder, he quickly drains the blood and filets it. He sprinkles a very small amount of salt, and the fileted pieces sweats out moisture.

“This process removes the odor and retains the fresh taste. It’s not only delicious, but the flavor lingers. I have to rely on my instinct to determine how to process the fish and how much salt I should use to retain just the right amount of moisture. This is my weapon. It takes me 3 days to get back my instinct after just 1 day off, so I don’t take any vacation days. Of course, it’s impossible to get it 100% every single time since I’m working with natural products, but I strive to be perfect.” (Mr. Maeda)

His statement “I put my life on the line when I work with seafood” doesn’t seem to be an exaggeration. The locals are certainly lucky to have him so close by.


Sasue Maeda Fish Market (main store)
4-10-31 Honcho, Yaizu-shi, Shizuoka
TEL 054-628-8228