Tag Archives: 静岡

Japanese Gastronomy: Eels at Chigusa in Hamamatsu City!

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Service: shy but very friendly
Facilities: traditional but very clean
Prices : reasonable for eels (eels are very expensive in Japan)
Strong points: Eels! Only local fish used! Great view on Hamana Lake

Summer is eel eating time in Japan, especially in Shizuoka renown all over the country for its great eels mainly bred around Hamamatsu City and in Hamana Lake in particular.
So the other day we decided to visit at long last a famous but traditional and very reasonable eel restaurant lost by the Hamana Lake in Mikkabi, Hamamatsu City, called Chigusa (ちぐさ/千草)!

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So instead of boarding a regular train, and taxi or bus we took a local train along the Tenhama Line (Japanese web site), a trip I would advise any true traveler (and photographer) to take to enjoy the sights and discoveries of old Japan!
We got down at an unmanned (yes, they still exist! Talk about Japanese trust!) station in the blazing sun.

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The station is called Okuhamanako/Far side of Hamana Lake.
Get down there and try to reach the main road through the countryside as soon as you can (there are many ways!)!

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This particular area, Mikkabi in Hamamatsu City, is famous all over Japan for its (still green now) oranges!

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Once you reach the main road turn left and walk along for 10 minutes along the Hamana Lake!

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You can’t miss it even if you can’t read Japanese as a long black eel is welcoming you from afar!

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A picture/snapshot not to miss!

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The entrance with unagi/鰻 written on the noren/暖簾, entrance curtain!
Who’s that guy taking a picture? LOL

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Past the entrance you will find these long metal tubes wrapped in rice straw ropes.
What are they? Can you guess?

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Portable fireworks!
This very rare festival is held beginning of August in Hosoe near Hamana Lake. I couldn’t manage my schedule to report but I’ll do it next year! Promise!

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Have a good look at the souvenirs before entering the dining room!

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Very traditional Japanese atmosphere inside!

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The menu is in Japanese, but the pictures will give a very good indication!
I personally chose the above, the best eel “double-decker” lunch set. Even at 3,200 yen (32 US $) it is very reasonable when you realize that the eel prices have almost doubled in the past 3 years!
And the eels are exclusively locally bred in Hamana Lake!
It is worth the trip, even by car as there is a big car park!

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Another important detail: you will have to wait some time before your order arrives. A good sign proving that contrary to the “cheap diners” food is individually prepared for best quality!
The lunch arrives at your table in a bento box shape on a tray.

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Take off the lids…. et voila!

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A succulent light soup containing eel liver/鰻肝!

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Home-made Japanese pickles, o-shinko/オシンコ!

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The broiled eel double decker/unagi jyuu/鰻重!

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Two layers of eel grilled and broiled to perfection with two layers of freshly (very important!) steamed rice enhanced by the sauce of the eel
Take your time and use chopsticks to make sure you eat slowly and appreciate it to the fullest! This eel in eel country!

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This gourd-shaped receptable contains shijimi/七味 mixed spice powder you can sprinkle over the eel for extra zip!

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Dragon (my worse half) chose the above which contains a single layer of broiled eel but with finely shredded omelet between the fish and the rice!

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Really appetizing, isn’t it?
I forgot: we visited Chigusa on Dragon’s advice! LOL

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Do I need to mention I helped Dragon to finish it under the pretense of sharing?

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It would certainly be a dilemma if I had to choose only one of those two lunches!
Make sure to come with a special company to taste as much as you can as I daresay that yen for yen this is the best value for eel in the whole Prefecture! (but I’m sure a lot of people will disagree! LOL)

CHIGUSA ちぐさ/千草
Hamamatsu City, kita Ku, Mikkabi Cho, Mikkabi, 1148-10
Tel.: 053-525-0218
Opening hours: 11:00~14:00, 16:00~20:00
Closed on 31st of December and 1st of January only
Reservations strongly recommended
Take-outs OK!
Cards OK
Non-smoking at lunch time
Car park available (30 spaces)
HOMEPAGE (Japanese)
BLOG (Japanese)

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

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 kanzai by Nevitt Reagan!
-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

Beware of the Wild Boars at Bus Stops! (real!)

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I discovered that sign inside a bus stop shelter in Yuugashima, Izu Peninsula, Shizuoka Prefecture!

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“Beware of the Wild Boars!”
It’s not a joke!

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Mind you, they make for good food, too! Wild boar buns are a local specialty!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

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!
-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

2012 Shizuoka Festival Food Stands and Dancers!

Cute lady selling dango/団子!

The last three days saw the annual Shizuoka Festival which was held all over town.
It is slowly becoming better organized thanks to contributions from the whole Prefecture and volunteer citizens, although the city and authorities do very little…
Anyway yesterday, a beautiful Sunday, I took the opportunity to take a few (a lot actually) pictures to show you all what a local (in Shizuoka City) festival looks like!

I first went to the Sumpu Castle (a 2/3 scale copy of the original) and Sumpu Park!

The entrance to the main “square” where most of the food stands were located.

The map of the whole park!

A small traditional band manned by physically-impaired children!

Tough-looking girls on the Japanese drums!

Drummers start young in Japan!

Unimpressive and idle Shizuoka policemen…
Shizuoka policemen (actually traffic wardens in spite of their guns and plates…) are notorious as a lazy breed…

Now, what is that castle for?

A giant air cushion for kids to play on!

Fancy a tour with a “jinrikisha”?

Some people also call this Festival the “Shizuoka Spring Cherry Blossoms festival”!

These knee-high stockings are very much in fashion this year!

Plenty of food and drinks under the cherry trees! Ever heard of “Hanami/花見”?

Bento stand!

Japanese-style country food!

Yomogi wagashi Japanese cakes!

Shizuoka Oden!

Tsubuan Manju!

Shizuoka-style okonomiyaki!

Floating balls for the kids!

Try your luck!

Shizuoka specialties: dried sakura ebi/cherry shrimp and shirasu/sardine whiting!

A treat that kids all over the world look for!

More Shizuoka Oden!

Very well organized event with many public dustbins!

Kimonos are still very much in fashion!

A whole range of fancy okonmiyaki!

Japanese-style soft ice creams!

Korean-style karaage/deep-fried chicken!

Preparing o mochi and kinako wagashi cakes!

More okonomiyaki!

No, they are not selling kangaroo meat!

Shizuoka is strawberry country!

The Japanese too love their hamburgers!

Yakisoba!

Famous Shizuoka’s Hatsukame sake!

Takoyaki/Octopus dumplings!
I took a break to enjoy some with a cup of the above sake!

Charcoal-grilled ayame and ayu trouts!

Dango/団子!

Hiroshima-style Suwaganiten and nigiriten!

Utsunomiya gyoza!

Japanese-style corn on the cob!

Mini okonomiyaki?

More Shizuoka-style oonomiyaki!

Sausages!

Giant Sasebo (Kyushu) hamburgers!

Yakitori and oden!

“Love and Peace Ice Cream”!

I finally moved out to a quick look at Aoba Park Street where the kids were having on giant air cushions!

Right in front of the city hall! I suspect that many a civil servant’s kid was there!

And then I walked and made myself a nuisance taking pics of dancing groups in the middle of the main thoroughfare!

Sexy dancers! Sorry for the fuzzy pic, I was not really looking at my camera….

Mothers and kids waiting for their turn!

The Japanese love to be taken in photographs but the setting sun was a bit of a nuisance!

Is that a gentleman in the middle?

My personal first prize for colorful costumes!

The last pic!

Looking for and forward to the next local festival!

Dekopon Oranges Producer in Shizuoka City: Nobuhiko Onuma

Nobuhiko Onuma/小沼宣彦 between his daughter/睦代, and wife, Yoshiko/良子!

Dekopon (デコポン?) is a seedless and very sweet citrus fruit, a hybrid between Kiyomi and ponkan (Nakano no.3), developed in Japan in 1972 starting from Kyushu Island. Originally a brand name, Dekopon has become a genericized trademark and it is used to refer to all brands of the fruit; the generic name is shiranuhi or shiranui (不知火). Dekopon is distinctive due to its sweet taste, large size and the large protruding bump on the top of the fruit.
Shizuoka prefecture has become a major producer thanks to its ideal climate.

Okitsu Mountains under a glaring sun.

I recently had the chance to make a new friend, Ms. Chikayo Onuma working as a nurse at the Shizuoka Children’s Hospital, whose parents are producers of Dekopon and other oranges in Okitsu, Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City!
Her parents were very kind to accept this foreign resident to visit and interview them!
Okitsu in Shizuoka Prefecture is nationally famous for its citrus fruits thanks to an ideal sun exposure and wide differeneces of temperature between day and night contributing to an extarordinary sweetness of the fruit.

Unfortunately the picking season was finished but we still had a lot to talk about before moving to the ozawa’s home to have a look at their crops.
Mr. Onuma produces an annual crop of 3,000 kg of Dekopon, 1,000 kg of Aoshima (Aoshima Shutarou) Oranges, as well as Kiyomi and Suruga Elegant varieties.

A typical farmhouse in Shizuoka Prefecture!

Mr. Onuma sells some of his crop through the JA but mostly deals with a network of private customers and accepts orders through the phone/fax as long as there are any fruit left. You had better hurry as they will disappear soon!

Mr. Onuma was kind enough to prepare an explanation of the cultivation for my perusal:
May: Flowering
July~August: Pruning and thinning the trees to keep only the best fruit. A neck braking work!
From August: regular watering
About the 20th of November: Each fruit is individually protected with a paper bag. More neck-breaking work!
From Januray 20th: Harvesting.

But the work is far from being finished as I will explain later!

Moreover, fungicide has to be spread 12 times a year.
Mr. Onuma told me that he keeps any such fungicide to a minimum and does not use any other agrichemicals.

More work is to come as the fruit will be stored in a dark cool shed to mature.
The fruit must attain a level of 13 on the official sweetness scale before they may be called Dekopon.
Mr. Onuma’s crop of Dekpon has been awarded the special appelation of shiranuhi (不知火) by the Prefecture, as a sure mark of its excellence!

Mr. Ozawa’ shiranuhi have even been prized in spite of the fierce competition!

Even Japanese nationals will be hard pressed to pronounce the Kanji for shiranuhi (不知火) properly!

Temperature inside the shed is strictly regulated!

And the place is also kept dark at all times!

Moreover, each fruit has to be individually wrapped in an open vinyl pouch!
I can’t start to imagine all the work and time spent!

Not to mention all the back-breaking work carrying 10 kg trays out and preparing orders!

Mr. Ozawa’s dekopon in my bento!

All this to make sure that all the fruit reach customers in the perfect state!
Thank you so much, Mr. Ozawa!

Nobuhiko Onuma/小沼宣彦, Dekopon and ornages producer
424-Shizuoka City, Shimizu Ku, Okitsu Inoue Machi, 177
424-0202静岡市清水区興津井上町177
Tel./Fax: 054-369-2670

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

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, 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

Spring Flowers in Shizuoka City, Japan!

White peonies?

Spring has finally arived with a steep rise temperature and flowers blooming everywhere although the main cherry trees are still late and will bloom only for the Shizuoka Festival taking place next week (report in the offing!)!

I couldn’t help taking pictures on my way to work yhis mornig.
My office is only a 10-miute bicycle ride away and I took these pics along the way to show you the simple pleasures of everyday life in Japan!
I don’t know the names of many of these flowers and I hope my friends help me there!
I will credit them of course!

All pices are shown in the order on my trip to work!

I know the French word for these but not the English one!

These small white flower bushes are very popular in Japan!

Late blooming Japanese plum tree.

Red camelias in front of a vetenerary hospital.

Rape flowers.

Not flowers, but kumquats!

Cherry blossoms.

Large cherry blossom variety.

Winter oranges!

More white peonies?

Cherry blossoms at a kindergarten!

Very popular again but I don’t know their name…

Cherry blossoms.

White peonies again?

Peeking over the hedge…

I don’t know their name but their yellow color suit the nearby police-box well!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

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, 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

Shizuoka (& Japanese) Gastronomy: Sushi & Sashimi – Eat Local!

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Saurel pike/Aji from Suruga Bay, Shizuoka Prefecture

Very few people will disagree with the notion that Japan is the ideal place to discover and savour sushi and sashimi in the whole world. Nevertheless, there are a few rules of the thumb to respect, even in this gastronomic paradise.
The overriding rule is that you should try and eat only local fish or seafood.
Tsukiji might be considered a sushi paradise by Tokyoites (it has or will be moved to another location), but the cheap prices enjoyed by tourists cannot conceal the reality: the fish and seafood are “imported” from all over Japan and beyond!
More than often, Edomae (Tokyo) sushi is nothing but a clever way to “dress up” ingredients to lure officionados (and customers) into believing they are eating top quality sushi (with the consequent prices).
Now, if you have the chance and time to explore Japan beyond Tokyo, you will discover an unfathomable treasure trove of gastronomic pleasure and knowledge!
After all, this country is a vast archipelago stretched across greatly different seas and climates, making for a diversity difficult to equal.
So, even if you cannot possibly explore all the shores of this nation, make a point to learn about the food available wherever you choose to stay.
The same goes for residents, not only for their own sake, but for that of their visitors and friends!

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Sushi set with fish all caught in Suruga Bay, Shizuoka Prefecture

You also ought to do some homework. Sushi chefs worthy of their salt will be only too happy to answer questions to genuinely interested customers and come up with revelations of their own.
As an example to illustrate the need for some basic knowledge, in Hokkaido “oyakodon” (“parent and child”) is not cooked chicken and omelette on a bowl of rice, but raw salmon and its roe spread on top the same bowl of rice!
Likewise, the same fish will more than often be sold under a myriad of names.
Many morsels will not be found anywhere else suc as “sakura ebi/cherry shrimps” and fresh”shirasu/sardine whiting” in Shizuoka Prefecture.
Sashimi in most cases has to be perfectly fresh as typified by “kubiore saba” in Yakushima Island where fishermen break the neck (“kubiore”) of mackerels (“saba”) to preserve their quality upon catching. The same fish will be served within a few hours, or less, on the local tables.
On the other hand, tuna sashimi is best consumed first thawed and then ripened for a few days in a refrigerator.
In Hokkaido, large shrimps, especially “botan ebi” will be served only raw, whereas “kuruma ebi” will be first boiled in other regions.

If you ask for “tataki”, make sure it means the whole fish, especially “aji/mackerel pike” that will be served finely cut as tartare atop the dressed fish. And if the fish is really fresh such small and medium fish will have their bones and heads served deep-fried for a beautiful crispy snack!

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Flying Fish/Tobiuo sashimi from Yakushima Island

On the other hand, sushi follows different rules.
Fish and seafood placed on “donburi” (bowl) are usually of the freshly brought variety but fish served as nigiri is prepared in a different way.
The greatest sushi (and this cannot be done in Tsukiji!) are made with fish which has been gutted and cleaned live within seconds, then dressed into strips/fillets left to mature in a refrigerator on clean cloth/kitchen paper. This can be done only with fish caught locally!
The same obviously goes with shellfish and other marine ceatures: One cannot sample better “uni/sea urchin” away from Hokkaido or sakura ebi from Shizuoka.

Vegan and vegetarians, upon finding a restaurant willing to satisfy their priorities should also ask for food grown locally, a search easier than one might think at first as there are many non-meat eaters in this mainly Buddhist country.
The same vegetables will make for the perfect combination when associated with local fish!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India
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

Fuji Safari Park

Fuji safari Park in Susono City at the foot of Mount Fuji in Shizuoka Prefecture is one of only six full-scale zoological parks you can enjoy visiting all year round.
Open in 1980, it includes a vast Safari Zone where many animals live in controlled freedom. They can be observed from your own car or from the car bus inside seven different zones for bears, lions, tigers, cheetahs, elephants, and many other animals from rhinos to flamingoes.

The “Jungle Bus” with wire netting over windows is popular because visitors can feed fierce animals at close quarters.
The “Animal Village” or “Fureai” in Japanese, allow visitors to come into direct contact with more than 22 kinds of small animals.
Depending upon the season, a “Night Safari” allows visitors to observe animals at night.

Guides available with guided tours (fees apply)

Address: Shizuoka Prefecture, Susono City, Suyama, 2255-27
Phone enquiries: 055-998-1311
Access: About 15 minutes by car (10 km) from Susono IC on Tomei Expressway
About 25 minutes by car from Gotenba IC
About 35 minutes from Fuji IC.
By train: Shinkansen for Tokyo to Mishima Station~bus service to Fuji Safari Park 50 minutes)
Normal train to Gotemba Station~bus to Fuji Safari Park (35 minutes)

Opening hours: 09:00~17:00 (Mar 16th~Sep 30th)/09:00~16:30 (Oct 1st~Oct 31st)/10:00~15:00 (Nov 1st~Mar 15th)
Entry fees: Adults, 2,700 yen. 4 years old~Junior High School students, 1,500 yen. Group discount available from 15 people or more.
Over 65 years old: 2,000 yen.
Jungle Bus fee: 1,200 yen
Night Safari: + 1,000 yen
Free parking available for 1,400 passenger cars.
Website: http://fujisafari.co.jp/ (Japanese)

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

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