Hotaru-ika, or firefly squid, is caught with anoff-shore fixed net before dawn. At that hour, thefirefly squid emits a blue luminescence which turns the Sea of Japan into a spectacular light show in the blink of an eye.
While spending the majority of their lives in deeper waters, the firefly squid females females rise to the surfaceand gather near the coast from March to May, to laytheir eggs. Toyama Bay and the city of Namerikawaare especially famous for hotaru-ika fishing. Although the developments and improvements in freezing techniques have made firefly squid available throughout the year, fresh hotaru-ika sashimi can only be savoured in spring.
Fishermen use a special net for firefly squid, called fukubeami, which differ from the ones used for other species. The nets, generally made of straw, are cast out in the bay to capture the squid as they make their way towards the shore to spawn.When the squid come in contact with the nets, the stimulation causes them to emit light, creating a mysterious glow that spreads over the surface of the sea.
Here are a few restaurants in Tokyo where you can have fresh firefly squid.
This shop, which was created as an information centre for the city and prefecture of Toyama, receives a number of fresh local products from Toyama every day.