The city of Iwaki, on the coast of Fukushima Prefecture, is not renowned as a destination for leisure or tourism. Yes, it does have some excellent and historic hot springs, but the modern city has developed out of mining, industry and shipping.

And yet, for a chef, Iwaki enjoys a close-to-ideal location.

Here in the Joban region, summers are mild, and winters are never too cold. Inland, there are fertile agricultural flatlands and forested mountains. Offshore, this is where the warm Kuroshio current from the south meets the Arctic waters of the Oyashio current, forming some of the richest fishing grounds in the country.