I had the pleasure of staying at the 花遊 (Kayuu) Ryokan (a Japanese-style hotel with outdoor Onsen). It was a marvelous experience. As most ryokans are, the price high ($100 per person–Japanese charge by people not just the room).
But the scenery, the easy access to the town (15-30 minutes walking) and shoreline (2-15 minutes walking), as well as the Whale Museum (2 minutes) is definitely worth the visit.
The museum shows all sorts of items (bones, stages of growth for both whales and dolphins) and also features dolphin and whale shows, with additional things to do (like Sealife Park in Hawaii)… Except much cheaper. Please take a look.
Taiji is known for its whale and dolphin hunting and capturing as well as the surrounding scenery. While Taiji does a good job of capturing Dolphins, when talking with the residents most people have a taste for whale and rarely eat dolphin. Another town, Shingu, is known for their dolphin menus.
What I found interesting tho, is when I initially tried talking to people in Taiji… They were a little apprehensive in dealing with me. There are posters written about the town for “no admittance”, “no photos”, “no interviews” because of all the problems activists have caused and continue to cause in the town. But once they understood I was there only to sightsee and learn about their culture, they opened right up and gave me their opinions.
I did meet one other foreigner, a Canadian, at the Whale Museum… She told me her story and when I told her I was there sight seeing, she was very cold and said something to the affect of “you should never come back here”.
I make it a point wherever I go to eat local specialty foods and drink local spirits and Taiji was no different. I had the opportunity to eat both a full course whale dinner and also was able to get my hands on some dolphin sashimi. The whale actually had decent dishes, but I can’t say I thought everything was appetizing… but this is also coming from a guy raised on beef, chicken, and pork for almost all of his life,
Now the dolphin… I was astonished, it was actually good as sashimi… The meat and fat mix made it fairly tasty and u can see why some Japanese would continue to eat it, as well as whale.
Here’s an interesting fact for you; do you know the meaning of the Chinese and Japanese word (kanji letter spelling is the same, but of course the pronunciations are different) for dolphin?
Answer: 海豚。”Sea” and “Pig”
豚肉 is pork (Pig meat)
So if you’re judging Japan based on their hunting of Dolphins, please understand their history and culture first before you try and change them. But if you must protest, do it politely and with respect. They have families their trying to provide for.