ESAN Association was founded by Hakodate seaweed producers and fishermen and the objective of Mr Saito (in charge of sales).
It is to supply local seafood directly to consumers, at a reasonable price while at the same time preserving their flavour and freshness.
Hakodate town and the cuisine of Hokkaido ( Japan's northern isle) are renowned for their abundance of fresh seafood. Kombu seaweed and cuttlefish are particularly well appreciated in Japan. Makombu (Laminaria japonica areschoug) seaweed was traditionally considered as a luxury product for the shogunats (Japanese military governments from the end of the 12th century to the Meiji period -1868).
Nowadays, numerous tourists visit Hakodate market throughout the day, looking for this divine flavour.
Mount Esan, an active volcano, overlooks the town of Hakodate. From its heights there is a magnificent panorama: a vast stretch of bluish sea and in spring its slopes are covered by some 600 000 flamboyant red azaleas.
The area of Esan, in Hakodate, is renowned for its seaweed production : Makombu (Laminaria japonica areschoug) and Kagome Kombu (Kjellmaniella crassifolia Miyabe ). In summer during the drying period, their smells and fragrances deliciously invade the township.
The richness of the natural marine resources of Esan influenced a massive immigration of wajins ( a Japanese people) 400 years ago. The presence of two currents off Esan, one hot the other cold, has helped develop the fishing industry.
Delicious firm fleshed fish and seaweed are abundant there.
The seaweed, pushed by vigorous waves, is harvested by hand from spring to autumn in the early morning, and then washed and dried in the sun.