Crowds of people have gathered at a festival on the Sea of Japan coast to taste a regional winter delicacy -- snow crabs.
Eighteen fish shops and restaurants set up booths at a roadside service area in the town of Echizen, Fukui Prefecture, on Saturday.
A local fishermen's association and other groups organize the event every year following the start of the season for catching crabs. Male crabs landed at ports in the prefecture are particularly sought after, to the point that they are called "Echizen crabs."
Visitors bought crabs at prices about 10 to 20 percent lower than in retail shops.
Vendors also sold grilled crabs and bowls of rice topped with sashimi and crabs.
People formed a long line at a stall that offered bowls of soup with one whole crab.
A man in his 40s said the soup was good and that he is not able to eat such fresh crabs so often.
The festival runs through Sunday.