Separated from the Pacific by a sandbar to the east, and fed by mineral-rich rivers that flow from the volcanic peaks of the Hakkoda mountain range to the west, the brackish waters of Lake Ogawara in Aomori prefecture are the third largest source of shijimi clams in Japan. We met up with Eiichi and Tomoyuki Numao, a father-and-son duo who haul in their catch the old-fashioned way, using long-handled basket rakes.
Each rake alone weighs 15 kilograms. To support their lower backs, older diggers affix a wooden support board to their bodies; the younger ones wear a belt. “Some 250 clam diggers work on the lake. Hardly anyone here uses an automated harvester—they churn up the mud and kill off the clams left behind,” Eiichi told us. The nutrient-rich shijimi are sorted by size on the boat. Those with a height of less than 11 millimeters are returned.
◎Lake Ogawarako Fisheries Cooperative
４-31-662 Asahikita Tohoku-machi, Kamikita-gun, Aomori
（The Cuisine Magazine /September2018）