Fish markets are at their most lively and interesting at the crack of dawn, but the early hour is somewhat inconvenient. Unless you fancy driving through the predawn darkness, it’s best to spend the night near the market.
Fortunately, Kesennuma has ample lodging available, from budget-friendly hostels to luxury hotels. One accommodation that's both convenient and destination-worthy is Kesennuma Plaza Hotel
, a hot springs hotel located just a fifteen-minute walk from the market.
Prime time at the fish market starts at around 6 a.m. From that time on, visitors can freely observe the fishermen's routine and the fish auction from a balcony suspended above the trading floor. For an in-depth explanation of and more intimate encounter with the action taking place, sign up for a guided tour. Guided tours are offered from 8:30 a.m. (reservation required for English tours).
After the tour, reward yourself for waking up so early with breakfast at K-Port This popular cafe was founded by actor Ken Watanabe with locals as part of his effort to help the area recover from the 2011 tsunami. No matter where he is in the world, he faxes the restaurant a heartfelt message every day, posted for all to see! Food-wise, K-Port serves comfort foods like pizza, curry rice, and zenzai (sweet red bean soup).
Otokoyama Hoten is a hundred-plus year old brewery that managed to survive the 2011 earthquake thanks to the help of the community. Tour the brewery to learn how sake is made, then do a tasting to experience the fine flavors their fermentation methods produce.
Catch a bus bound for Oshima at the Sakanamachi Ichome (魚町一丁目) bus stop.
Alight at the Oshima Gakko-mae (大島学校前) bus stop.
Enjoy a relaxing afternoon on the island. Walk along the sandy beach at Kodanohama. Alternatively, hike to the top of Mount Kameyama for a 360 degree view of the city, island and ocean (~1 hr. by foot from Tairyomaru)
Savor everything you've learned at Izakaya Pinpon. Let your newfound knowledge complement the delicious seafood and sake here.