Only in Japan Welcome to the “Abashiri Keimusho, Abashiri prison” . This one has since been retired and has been turned into a museum the new prison a couple of kilometers away But what is great about this is. It gives you an inside glimpse into everyday life at a Japanese prison Abashiri is in northern Hokkaido on the sea of okhotsk It’s famous for its prison, this is the current prison which began operations in the mid-1980s Inmates have lighter sentences here not exceeding eight years A couple kilometers away is the old Abashiri prison opened in 1890 where the harshest sentences in Japan was served Looks warm in summer, but the winters can be downright treacherous when an average is minus 10 degrees Celsius in February But it’s also famous for one other thing, right? That’s right pal it has real prison food real food Abashiri is the only place where you can try the same prison meals the inmates received. Enjoy your meal, Sir The “Bangaichi Shokudo” diner is where you can experience a true Japanese prison meal It’s considered a secret meal because these meals were only eaten behind the walls until recently. These manikins are inside the prison cafeteria showing how inmates used to eat lunch between work shifts But most meals were served in their cells This is some good eaten. Miso soup is out straight better than my wife’s cooking That’ll be sure This is the current prison in operation and their meals are brought to them and eaten in their cells There’s a special opening to serve the meals. A good meal can make prison life a little more bearable This is a private cell much prized in the prison. The inmates eat like this makes you wonder if it’s better than school lunches In a past episode I featured school lunches, and I was surprised at how healthy and nutritious the set menus were With attention paid to caloric intake for energy for The prison meals it’s the same, but how does it really taste the “Bangaichi Shokudo” has two prison meal sets available A and B Let’s go inside and grab a seat The diner is made of wood with high ceilings like the original prison cafeteria I ordered both sets to try and the staff went to work grilling the fish and preparing the dishes Here’s what I got first meal set A, the Pacific saury or Sanma set The grilled saury fish the centerpiece So this is authentic Japanese prison food, this is the only place in Japan where you can eat it, and you can see its It just looks really healthy you have The Mugi Gohan, the barley rice you have Miso soup you have two kinds of salads And you have this piece of fish which is Sanma that looks so good The Sanma or salary is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside natural oils giving a pleasing mouthful oh The Sanma is perfectly grilled. It’s salted. It has a side of grated Daikon or Japanese radish too it Goes together really well Normally, there is no Miso soup at the prisons. Instead inmates get a strong coarse tea. Don’t eat the tail unless you want to try The infirmary as part of your escape plan But I know in Japan is famous for its cuisine having some of the best in the world But if this is prison food I can eat this every day Before you start thinking Japanese prisons are soft. Here’s the schedule three meals a day with a variety And here are three sample meals can you tell which is breakfast lunch and dinner? Ramen. curry rice, Italian pasta, macaroni salad, fried shrimp and various grilled fishes all make up a week sample menu The daily schedule is very strict allowing for only 20 minutes to eat your meals The days are filled with work except 2 hours in the evening before bed Cells have black-and-white TV, a Futon and toilet The shared rooms are larger, but without the privacy It may be better than a Penitentiary in your country, but it’s still a hard life Here’s prison meal be the Atka Mackerel or “Hokke” set The mackerel is a beautiful piece of fish called “Hokke” in Japanese Boiled greens with fried Tofu mountain potato with dried bonito fish flakes The Hokke looks and smells fantastic I like how you can take the bones off real easily But once again the fish is just so so tender it’s cooked perfectly So I guess we could say that this is some of the healthiest prison food Which might make it the best prison food in the world? Prison meal time is certainly a moment I’d look forward to if I were ever incarcerated but Abashiri in North Hokkaido is a rough place Especially in winter and the inmates here was some of the hardest criminals in the country Takahashi-san, can you scrub my back? Hey keep it down in the back? When you cross the bridge to enter Abashiri prison your life was pretty much over This museum is one of the most fascinating in Japan here at the building houses the prison cells has a unique shape In the center where they all connected was a lookout for the prison guards So from this point in the prison you can see all five corridors So the security guard on duty had a very good vantage point It would be hard to get past the guards unless you were this guy up there see him. Hey buddy up here You got a file That’s Yoshie Shiratori, the only man to have ever escaped from Abashiri prison in fact He had escaped Japanese prisons four times one of the most celebrated anti-heroes in Japan Here’s his room his floorboards were reinforced so he couldn’t go under So how did he escape from his cell? In 1944 he rusted the handcuffs in cell inspection window with Miso soup Weakening the iron the salt in the Miso soup made the iron brittle and breakable When the time was right he broke free and climbed through a broken window in the roof Yoshie Shiratori’s story itself is worth a visit to the museum Yep, Miso soup brah bet you’d never think of that The prison had many unique features like the windows which were slanted so inmates could only see one way They couldn’t see the guards coming There’s a house in the museum with movies and interactive exhibits that allows you to really take in the history of the prison Toddle I can’t see where I’m going well. It ain’t to see the warden’s wife unfortunately It was the inmates who built the road up to Abashiri in the Meiji era Many died in the forests cutting down trees pushed at a relentless schedule Those that survived had a home at the prison at the end of the road And the museum allows you to try these feats of strength for yourself One of the most fascinating parts of the prison museum is a wing where you could enter new prison cells and Experience what the slammer is like for yourself Just make sure you keep the door open behind you oh you may be there for a while Come for the food and stick around for the prison for five to ten hours. That is Next time we’ll learn the secret of long life in Japan is there a secret and if so will my 106 year-old friend tell us I Traveled to Tottori prefecture to find out If you liked it hit that subscribe button and check out another one of our shows don’t miss my second live streaming channel only in Japan go and Check out location photos on Instagram Mata ne~!