Japanese fishcake maker develops tourism complex after humble start over 150 years ago

A selection of Suzuhiro "seasage" in packaging.

What was once a simple fishcake shop in a Japanese seaside town has now grown into a budding tourism complex teaching the history and process of fish paste manufacturing to visitors, while simultaneously continuing to develop innovative products.

Suzuhiro Group started as a side company for the fourth-generation owner of an Odawara-based family fish shop in the 1860s, who made and sold kamaboko fishcakes and handled the regular tasks of running the fish shop. After its incorporation in 1951, it’s now the eighth-largest fish paste producer in Japan, with fiscal year 2019 sales of JPY 10.2 billion (USD 68.5 million, EUR 64.5 million) and over 700 employees.

After garnering this success and establishing a legitimate foothold in the fish paste market, Suzuhiro has opened a tourism complex in Odawara – a city that has both a fishing port and pure spring water, providing the essential ingredients needed for fishcake manufacturing. The city is also just an hour south of Tokyo, allowing the company to capitalize on a massive tourism market from the nearby city.

Visitors to the tourism complex can browse the company’s diverse products while also learning about the history of both the company and the city. At the Kamaboko Museum next door, visitors can also make their own fishcakes, and at the Hakone Brewery, they can sit and enjoy craft beers. Food options include a buffet restaurant called Buffet Elenagosso; the handmade buckwheat (soba) noodle restaurant, Soba Mikura; and the high-end Japanese restaurant, Kaiseki Shionone. All of these businesses comprise the tourism complex as a whole.

Taking further advantage of the tourist trade, the company has ... 

Photo by Chris Loew/SeafoodSource

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