Category Archives: Farmers

Wasabi Ice Cream, Wild Boar, Ayu Trout And Joren Waterfalls in Yugashima, Izu Peninsula

The false and the true wasabi ice cream!LOL

If you wish to visit Izu Peninsula, one of the most famous tourist spots in the whole of Japan, be it for a single day or longer, there is a very simple way to do that allows you to explore the area on or off the beaten tracks.

Wherever you come from in Japan or Shizuoka Prefecture, first go to Mishima City and change trains from the JR Railway Line to the Private Izu Hakone Senzu Line which will take you all the way to Shizenji, its final destination.
Then at the Shuzenji Bus Station (beside the Railway Station) choose your destination (buses cover the whole peninsula from there) and enjoy a quiet ride. Take the very back seats if you can as they are always elevated and enable you to enjoy the views on the way from a better angle!

This time my destination was the Joren Waterfalls/浄の滝 in Yuugashima/湯ヶ島.
Don’t forget to take a picture of the bus stop sign for your collection!

What’s that inside the bus stop shelter?

“Beware of the Wild Boars!”
It’s not a joke! (Mind you, they make for good food, too!)

They look cute, but their sausages are a local delicacy!

They are also delicious as Inoshishi Man/猪まん/large steamed wild boar dumplings!

Incidentally visit the nearby souvenir shop where you can find Shizuoka Green Tea, real Shizuoka Wasabi Schochu and extravagant Shizuoka sake!

Now, what does that sign say?
Wasabi Soft!

Here they are! Here they are!

Real wasabi (soft) ice cream (I mean the one in the front!) made with wasabi grown in Izu peninsula!
Really piquant and sweet! A must-taste!

Alright let’s go to the waterfalls!
But first consult the board for some useful information written in English!

Quite a few stairs waiting for you!

More wasabi is apparently waiting for you downstairs!

More English information on the way to the waterfalls!

Do make a point to read it! You will be able to bosat your knowledge back home!

More wasabi ice cream waiting for you!

And fresh wasabi roots on sale!

Can you see the wasabi water fields on your way down?

Impressive, isn’t it? All grown organically in running natural water!

What are they doing?
Fishing ayu trout/鮎!

Now, here is some great fun for you and your kids:
Ask (for a fee) the small shop below to lend you a rod, line and lure to catch the ayu trouts in the river flowing away from the waterfalls and have your catch grilled for immediate pleasure!

Go there in the colder season when the water is pure and crystal clear!

Our destination: Jouren No Taki/Jyoren Waterfalls!
You will realize there why the water in Shizuoka Prefecture and Izu Peninsula is so famous!

I must take a dip there next summer! (I wonder if they will let me?)

Looking forward to visit other spots in the Izu Peninsula!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

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Hamana Lake Garden Park & Hamamatsu Flower Park Coming Events in Shizuoka Prefecture!

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Just outside Hamamatsu JR Station North Exit you will find an annoucement board you might do well to consult next time you travel to Hamamatsu City!

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Just to put you in the mood, you will discover a tree trimmed into the shape of Ieyasu Kun!

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The Hamana Lake Garden Park will hold its special opening from April 5th thru June 15Th!
Check their ENGLISH HOMEPAGE for great information!

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The Hamamatsu Flower Park will hold its special opening from march 21st thru June 15Th!
Check this ENGLISH HOMEPAGE for great information!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

So Good Sushi Restaurant in Nice France
Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Shizuoka Tourism Autumn Campaign Posters in Shizuoka JR Station!

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It took a long time but finally the Shizuoka Government pledge to promote Shizuoka Prefecture Tourism seems to switched to action mode!
To all visitors (and residents) to Shizuoka City and Shizuoka Prefecture it would be time well spent to stop for a few minutes and have a good look at the posters the Government has put in the middle of Shizuoka JR STation for all to see!
And have a good look at the bottom of each poster which gives 3 good reasons to enjoy our Prefecture!
So let’s start with the first one!

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The SL train running from Kanaya Station/Oigawa Steam Locomotive/大井川SL to Senzu Station and its hot springs in the Japanese Southern Alps is feature known of all train buffs in the country!

Sakura Ebi! Cherry Shrimps/桜海老 which are exclusively caught in the Suruga Bay in Autumn and late Spring are a delicacy that the Japanese are ready to travel a very long way just to taste fresh and raw!

Kunozan Toshogu/久能山東照宮 is a Japanese Natonal Treasure with the relics of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the Overlord of Japan who retired to Sumpu/Shizuoka at the beginning of the 17th Century!

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The second poster!

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Okuni Shrine/小国神社 is a beautiful Shinto Shrine in the middle of beautiful forest in Mori Machi in Western Shizuoka Prefecture.
Now is the best time to visit it with all the leaves changing colors!

Hamamatsu Gyoza/浜松餃子are famous all over the country and are served in a peculiar crown shape with plenty of fried beansprouts in the middle!

For people interested in Buddhism a three day Buddhist Monk Life Experience can be enjoyed in Fukuroi City!

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The third poster!

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For Japanese hot spring lovers do visit one of the many hot springs by the sea in Kitagawa, Izu Peninsula!

And you cisit Izu Peninsula do not forget this is the season for succulent spiny lobsters!

For history amateurs visit Nirayamあ in Northern Izu Peninsula to have a look at the only existing ship gun foundry/hansyarou/反射炉 (Meiji Era) in Japan!

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The fourth poster!

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near Mount Fuji you will discover Kakita Gawa/Kakita River/柿田川, one of “Three Clear-Flowing Rivers in Japan”!

Shizuoka Prefecture is famous all over Japan for its eels/unagi/鰻!

For people interested in Shinto and Shinto Shrines do visit the Sengen Shrine by Mount Fuji!

Looking forward to the Winter Canmpaign!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Japanese Gastronomy, Markets & Local Products at S-Pulse Dream Plaza in Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City!

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Kappa Chan at Kaldi Store!

If you have the occasion to visit (choose a rainy day!) Shimizu Ku (formerly Shimizu City before it was merged with Shizuoka City), you ought to try and visit S-Pulse Dream Plaza to have a good look at the local gastronomy in markets and taste it in the many restaurants inside! I can assure you there is lot to investigate as Shimizu is a major fishing harbor in Japan and is surrounded by the greatest variety of agricultural producers!

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First of all take the Tokaido Line/JR Line and get off at Shimizu.
Once past the ticket machines turn right, walk to the first exit and go down the stairs!

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Once downstairs turn left and look for the bus stop ring!

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Your bus stop is just beyond this (strange) sign!

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This is the schedule (weekdays on the left and week-ends on the right) for the free limousine bus service to S Pulse Dream Plaza!

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Incidentally this is also the bus stop for the free limousine bus to the ferry harbor if you want to take a ferry boat to Toi, Izu Peninsula!

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This is your bus!

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Board in at any of the two doors!

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Alright let’s have a good look at the restaurants and shops on the first (ground) floor!
Suruga Wan Shokudo/Suruga Bay Canteen!

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Hatoba Kitchen Restaurant!

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I told you that Shimizu is a major fishing harbor!

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Kaldi Coffee Farm!
They also serve a great selection of wine, sauces, preserved foods, pasta, etc.!

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Tezuka Shoten Ramen JIN Restaurant!

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Totoraku, serving fried sakuraebi bowl from Yui among others!

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Manmaya Eel Shop!

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Shimizu Harbor delicatessen and bento shop!

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Kaidoya shop specializing in unusual marine products!

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Nobu Chan Fish Market specializing in Shimizu Tuna!

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Live TV of their kitchen!

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Have a god look at the shop, left and right!

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Great and so reasonable fresh sushi bento!

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Only seasonal and local as far as fresh fish is concerned!

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Live seafood also available!

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Spicy Shizuoka Tuna preserves!

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And of course the Shizuoka specialty, bonito/katsuo (cooked in this case)!

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Kanei Suisan Shop specializing in sundried fish/himono and preserved marine products!

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First-class preserved seafood!

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Irifune Vegetables & Fruit Market!

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Benihoppe/Red Cheeks Strawberries, a Shizuoka specialty since 2002!

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Shimizu Groceries Store!

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Taki Delicatessen Shop!

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Tonkatsu Saboten Shop specializing in tonkatsu!

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Great variety of very reasonable bento!

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Shinoda Liqueur Shop, one of the very best in Shizuoka Prefecture where you will find local and Japanese drinks of all genres!

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Rare shochu from Shizuoka Prefecture!

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Shizuoka sake mini cups and mini bottles!

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Rare sake from Shizuoka and elsewhere!

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At the bottom Shizuoka Craft beers by Bryan Baird and Stephan Rager!

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Minato Pan, a great bakery where you can eat onsite!

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Mount Fuji melon Bread!

I already have introduced Umi Sushi Restaurant there but there are more to come as well as other shops and attractions!
Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Shop with Intent by Debbie
BULA KANA in Fiji
Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Kiwi Fruits & Agritourism at Kiwifruit Country Japan

Masatoshi and Tsuneyo Hirano/平野正俊・常代 at Kiwifruit Country Japan in Kakegawa City.

“Let’s introduce the greatness of the nature, importance of agriculture and taste of the real thing! Let’s learn together! Discover the valuable life!” is Masatoshi Hirano’s motto, in his own words, for farm management.

Entrance to Kiwifruit Country Japan

Mr. Masatoshi Hirano (and his two sons, too) speaks fluent English, because he spent a long time researching about citruses in four different States in the US before starting agriculture at his parents’ farm. His family has seen a lot of history go by as he is the 19th generation!
Nonetheless, as a youngster he understood that tradition was one thing, and good farming management another.

Kiwi fruits across the parking lot!

This led him, originally against his parents’ disagreement, to enlarge the family enterprise and introduce new cultures.
One was that of kiwifruit which he started from a single spoonful of seeds he had brought back home!

Agritour programs in front of the shop.

Then for the last 21 years he has expanded the cultivated land to include the largest Kiwifruit Agritour Orchard in Japan, tea, organic citruses, organic vegetables, organic edible flowers, space for domestic animals (as food and pets), self service stand direct sale shop, a whole forest for kids and adults alike, a BBQ area capable of welcoming 500 guests, a campsite, onsite field classes for children and students and agritours for Japanese and foreigners.

Baby goat.

A pet sheep.

A pet goat.

Pet rabbits.

Mischievous baby goats!

A baby pig, not a wild boar!

A peacock (there are two varieties, actually!)!

Kiwifruits, according to varieties (he grows 80 of them and conduct experiments on 500!), are either grown in an enormous greenhouse (which also serves as an BBQ and event space) or in open-air fields.

This kiwifruit tree wood is actually very popular with local artists!
Another great way to recycle nature!

Greenhouse-grown kiwifruit on display for practical information!

Kiwifruit varieties ready for sampling!

One can study about kiwifruits in Japanese and English while eating them!

Chickens for their meat and eggs.

More chickens!

And even more chickens! These are pets kept together with rabbits!

And more chickens. These always seem hungry!

The whole range of edible organic flowers and mountain vegetables/sansai/山菜 grown on site!

Organic shiitake.

Organic pumpkins!

Peaceful sheep.

Organic mandarines/mikan/蜜柑.

The grass and plants are left to grow naturally from the soil mixed with natural compost.

Another variety of organic mandarines.

Tea fields.

Vast open-fields of kiwifruit trees. Would you believe that Mr. Hirano pollinate them all by hand? A back and shoulder-breaking work!

A view inside the very old forest. It is actually crossed by a centuries-old path!

Small concerts are organized in that space inside the forest!

A kids’ heaven!

Look at these air-breathing roots. Now, this is an ancient tree!

100% organic potatoes sold at the shop!

Kiwis on sale at the shop.
One can eat as many as one wants onsite for a fee!

All kinds of varieties and packaged kiwifruit can be sent all over Japan directly from the shop!

These are the ones I took back hoe!

Obviously this is only the first of a long series of articles as the place will have to be visited every month by your servant or reporters from Agrigraph!

Kiwi Fruit Country/Experience & Learning Farm
Masatoshi & Tsuneyo Hirano
436-0012 Shizuoka Ken, Kakegwa Shi, Kamiuchida, 2040
Tel.: 0537-22-6543
Fax: 0537-22-7498
Free dial: 0120-014791
E-mail: wbs02626@mail.wbs.ne.jp
HOMEPAGE(Japanese, but phone calls can be taken in English)

Business hours: 09:00~17:00
BBQ (even by rainy weather) and tours possible on reservation.

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Green Tea Processing at Marufuku Tea Factory

Mr. Bunji Itoh/伊藤文治 and his daughter Asami/麻美 at Marufuku Tea Factory/丸福造者株式j会社 were kind enough to show me twice the mechanical part of processing green tea as well as explain the various kinds of tea they make.
Bear in mind this the mechanical part of green tea which takes place after picking, steaming and massaging the fresh leaves.

The basic first step is hi-ire/火入れ/roasting which can be done with two different machines:

A comparatively small roasting drum-style machine which can roast green tea at 120~135 degrees Celsius from 10 kg in 20 minutes.

A larger and more elaborate roasting machine which can take care of 300 kg in an hour.

The second step will involve separation according to quality into 5 basic teas I will describe later.

But more than one type of machine is used to produce tea according to the demands and preferences of clients.

Some of quality tea has to be treated by hand!

But the machines certainly make the job easier!

Tea also has to go through other apparatuses to take out unwanted particles, especially metallic powder with magnets.

Finally after the tea has been processed satisfactorily it will have to be put into packs of various sizes.

The tea packs will be then put into larger boxes for delivery!

Basic types of green tea:

Arai-cha/荒い茶/ Coarse Tea

For a closer view of the same.

Boo-cha/棒茶/ Stick tea

For a closer view of the same.

Me cha/芽茶/ Bud tea, the best quality

For a closer view of the same.

Yanagi Cha/柳茶/ Willow Tea, called so because the the roasted leaves look like willow leaves. Also commonly called Ban cha/番茶/ Number Tea

For a closer view of the same.

Kona cha/粉茶/ Powder Tea

For a closer view of the same.

Marufuku Seishya Co. Ltd. (Mr. Bunji Itoh)
Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Wakamatsu Cho, 25
Tel.: 054-271-2011
Fax: 054-271-2010

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London
Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Wasabi: A Visit to Its Birthplace in Shizuoka!

Mr. Yuma Mochizuki/望月佑真

The other day I received a phone call from my good friend Dominique Corby, the Chef/Manager of Michelin-starred 6eme Sens in Tokyo.
He told me that the French/German ARTE TV Channel was coming to Shizuoka City on September 12th~13th to make a long report on green tea (Shizuoka produces 45% of all green tea in Japan), wasabi (Shizuoka produces 80% of all wasabi in Japan) and the fishing industry in our Prefecture (they will visit the Fishing Harbour of Yaizu City)!
He wished to enroll my help to “prepare the ground” for the TV crew as I was not only living in Shizuoka City, but knew my wasabi well! He didn’t have to ask twice!
So on Thursday and Friday 12th and 13th, a third Musketeer, Stephane Danton of Ocharaka, a French specialist of green tea in Kanagawa Prefecture who exports green tea from Kawane Honcho in Shizuoka, joined us in a rented car and we left on a grand mission!

Utogi is also the starting point of some great treks!

We did spend the whole Thursday following Stephane in tea growing farming homes and communities as the rain just made it impossible to visit the wasabi fields in altitude!
So we left early in the morning on Friday from Shizuoka City in blistering heat.
The ride is not that hard, 18 km along the Abe River and 3 more km up in altitude, what with the beautiful vistas between high steep forested mountains.
We reached Utogi at around 11:00 a.am. where Mr. Yuma Mochizuki was already waiting for us.

One of Mr. Yuma Mochizuki’ wasabi fields.

Mr. Yuma Mochizuki is the 10th generation of a celebrated wasabi growing family.
He presently owns 5 fields dispersed on in the Utogi Mountains, and is trying to buy more land in Fujinomiya City as the demand is growing and that there is simply no space left in Utogi!
Wasabi grows in the wild and has been consumed as a vegetable for eons.
It is only in the beginning of the 17th Century that a farmer in Utogi succeeded in growing the root that is so appreciated in the world.
Roots of a small size will develop in the wild after 2 or 3 years, but they are too sour and “green” to be consumed at all. Although its cultivation is purely organic/macrobiotic it does need the help of a human hand.

Mr. Mochizuki first took us to his highest field at almost 1,000 metres (well over 300 feet) to an almost inaccessible locale among trees, steep slopes and up impossibly narrow and slippery “stairs”. But it was certainly worth it, although the TV crew will ot have to climb so high.
He then took us (all the time by car as walking was not much of an option what with the heat and the distance between fields) to the field that would appear on TV.

The whole field is covered with a black mesh net to protect it from too much exposure to the sun. These nets are streched over the field only when it is directly under the path of the sun. Some fields aren’t.
But all fields have to be protected with suplementary solid side nets to keep wild monkeys and deer away as they would leave nothing of the stems and leaves!

Wasabi seedlings have to be regularly replanted every one or two years depending upon the variety. There are axtually more than 100 varieties of them. Mr. Mochizuki grows ten of them.
The seedlings above had been replanted only one month ago.

Here is a “view” (from under the nets) of the upper part of that particular field with about one-year old wasabi plants in the background.

After 1 or 2 years the wasabi plant matures to almost one metre in height, root, stems and leaves included. Subsidiary plants will grow from the bottom of the main large root. These will be cut out to be replanted.
The large root will be harvested for the wasabi paste. The stems will be pickled in Japanese sake white lees to become “Wasabi Tsuke”, a delicacy one can use to season his/her bowl of freshly steamed rice with or with fish and fish paste. The leaves can be pickled too, although they are eminently edible raw, steamed or cooked. Shizuoka people use them as “vessels” to taste miso paste!

Only pure mountain water flowing at a constant temperature may be used in the culture of wasabi. Stagnant water is out of question.
Moreover, and this is a little known fact, individual field sections and fields in general do not communicate with each other. Water come through pipes directly connected to mountain streams to bring water to each field section. It is then diverted to side funnels which prevent any water to go back into another field!
True envirnomental and organic culture.
Apart of the bed sand and water, nothing else goes into those fields. Full stop!

Although Mr. Mochizuki was very busy preparing the big Festival to be held on Saturday and Sunday with the whole community, he kindly took the time to invite us to his enormous Japanese house (all sitting on tatami there) to share tea and sample his wasabi crop. We had the pleasure to meet his very gentle spouse and the energetic 11th generation Yoshihiro Mochizuki望月義弘!

Here are the best samples of 3 of the best out of the 10 varieties the Mochizuki family grows. Can you guess which is the best one?…
The one in the middle with the dark stems!

Now, where do you grate the stem from? The pointed end or the stem end?
Well, this is according to priorities, but usually after chopping the stems away fromthe root is first grated from the top as it will hotter as you come closer to its pointed extremity. This way you can control the “heat” of the root (or mix the whole later!).

Have you ever seen the cross section of a healthy root?

The traditional way to grate the wasabi root is on a wooden slat covered with shark skin.
Mr. Mochizuki explained this is now done only for the sake of tradition. Sushi and soba chefs will grate (away for the clients’ eyes) on a new and very efficient metal grater (in the background).

Look at that for extravagance!
Mr. Mochizuki was indeed so generous in his demonstration.
The TV crew will have a “field day”! LOL

MARU ICHI NOUEN/丸一農園
(Yutogi Kodawari Club/有東木こだわり倶楽部)
Director: Yoshihiro Mochizuki/望月義弘
421-2303 Shizuoka Prefecture, Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Yutogi, 602
Tel./Fax: (81) (0)54-298-2077
E–mail: wasabiya-maruichi@vivid.ne.jp
Direct mail orders possible

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, 47 Japanese Farms Through The Eyes of Its Rural Communities, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento,Adventures in Bento Making, American Bent, Beanbento, Bento No, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box,
Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Cooking Cute, Timeless Gourmet, Bento Bug, Ideal Meal, Bentosaurus, Mr. Foodie (London/UK), Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery