The front entrance (Photo: Justin Velgus)

Kanezaki Kamaboko Fish Cake Factory

Food factory tour and amusement center in Sendai

The front entrance (Photo: Justin Velgus)
Justin Velgus   - 3 min read

The city of Sendai is most commonly called the City of Trees for its abundance of nature and tree-lined streets. However, it is also a gourmet capital with at least 15 specialties or so (that I know of) born or adopted by the city. While the most famous food is undoubtedly grilled cow tongue "gyutan", kamaboko is also very popular with locals and some travelers. Kamaboko is a mix of pureed fish grilled over an electric cooker. It often comes in the shape of a bamboo leaf in which case it is known as sasa-kamaboko. There are shops all over the city selling this treat, but to learn about it in detail, head to the Kanezaki Kamaboko Factory (かまぼこの鐘崎 笹かま館).

The company's amusement center is called the "Sasakama-kan" ("Sasakama Hall"). The facility is quite extensive and you can easily spend 2 hours exploring, particularly combined with the adjacent Sendai Tanabata Museum. The main attraction is the factory tour. You can make a reservation at the front reception upon arrival. Group tours run throughout the day. The tour is mostly in Japanese, but it is easy to enough to understand thanks to visuals, a video, viewing machines and workers through glass windows, and sample tasting. The knowledgable guide covers everything from ingredient selection to production, to sales. It was interesting to learn the bamboo shape is borrowed from the family crest of Date Masamune, founder of Sendai 400 years ago. Pictures are not allowed during the tour. You will change into slippers, so bring suitable footwear and socks.

After the tour, there is still much to do. There is a cooking studio where you can make from scratch then grill (or deep fry!) you own kamaboko. There is an art gallery on the second floor across from some model ships, a collection of one of the former company executives. In fact, everywhere around the buildings felt decorated in some way, yet not over-the-top, even despite some fantastical designs like flying fish made of metal. A company store sells kamaboko, various snacks, and souvenirs. Back near the entrance there is a restaurant selling main courses, side dishes, and everyone's favorite: soft serve ice cream--but with a kamaboko! As for me? I will be enjoying myself at the in-store sake bar.

Getting there

-By Car--
About 5 minute drive from Sendai-Tōbu Road, Sendai East IC.
OR 20-30 minute drive from JR Sendai Station.

--By Public Transportation--
Take the Tozai subway line to “Arai Station.” From there you can walk 25 minutes, or use a bus.

Board the bus bound for "Wakabayashi Gymnasium / Tobu Industrial Area" at bus stop No. 16 at the Arai Station bus pool. Alternatively, board the bus bound for "Okada/Arahama" at bus stop No. 18. In either case, depart at “Oroshi-machi Higashi 5 Chome Kita” bus stop.

Justin Velgus

Justin Velgus @justin.velgus

Justin Velgus (ジャスティン ベルガス) is the Miyagi Prefecture expert for Japan Travel and a long-term contributor since 2012 with a focus on the Tohoku region.  Justin has written extensively for JT, and other publications such as VisitMiyagi and Sake Today, amassing over 350 published articles...