Shell Source

Where people get their shells has come up in email conversations a few times, and I just thought I’d share my new favorite place to get shells. It’s in Kashima, Saga, on the edge of the Ariake Sea. Nearly the whole pile is ‘akagai’ shells, which I think are called cockles in English. I’m able to get them ranging in size from 1cm all the way up to about 10cm across.
You can see in the pictures here how unbelievably huge this pile is. I heard that they sell them bulk for people who crush them and use them in various ways. I drove up, and there were 3 workmen taking it easy over their lunch break. I asked them if this was the place I could by shells, and they said ‘How many?’ I said, ‘Oh, about one or two container’s worth (a container being a plastic orange container about the size of a 21″ computer monitor)’. They said, ‘Oh, just take what you want. No charge.’ Great! I’ll have to take them something in the way of thanks next time I pass that way.
Notice the size of the hill. That’s a 2 story building next to it, and a suspension bridge in the distance. Must be at least 4 stories high.

2 thoughts on “Shell Source”

  1. I am amazed at that shell mound – where I live the indigenous used particular areas and shell ‘middens’ are the reminders of meeting times long gone and are one of the things at least protected from mining. Where do they get all these from to enable them to stockpile in such huge quantities – just my environmental mind coming into play again?

  2. I think that most of the shellfish canning companies in the area deposit their shells here at the fisherman’s union. They are then resold for various uses, I don’t recall specifically though.

Comments are closed.