Bonito are migratory fish that belong to the Scombridae family. Because they migrate to waters near Japan around May, signaling the beginning of summer, they have been prized in Japan since the Edo period. As for seared bonito, the most famous way of cooking and eating bonito, fresh bonito are roasted over a rice straw-fueled fire to make the surface of the fish savory while leaving the meat inside rare and juicy. It is good to eat their sliced meat with lots of minced garlic and green onion placed over them or with a combination of soy sauce and vinegar or just with some salt. Visitors can experience this dynamic way of making seared bonito in various parts of Kochi. Bonito caught in autumn are excellent because they put on lots of fat. Furthermore, processed products using various parts of bonito are standard souvenirs of Kochi Prefecture. They include “shuto” (salted and fermented bonito guts), a stew of cubed bonito, boiled and half-dried bonito, shavings of dried bonito, and “haranbo” or the roasted fatty abdominal part of bonito.
Hatsugatsuo (spring bonito): late March to May
Modorigatsu (autumn bonito): September to November