Savor Buckwheat-Rice Porridge, the Local Cuisine of Nishi-Awa, and Learn the History behind it
If it is your first visit here, you will surely be amazed by the spectacular views of lush mountains with local houses and agricultural fields nestled peacefully on the steep mountainsides. This is Nishi-Awa, which is often called “the hidden place of Japan.” Let us explain the distinctive local cuisine of Nishi-Awa, buckwheat (soba in Japanese) rice porridge, which originated in this mountain village. This local specialty is considered to be closely connected with a historically significant event in Japan.
Taste buckwheat-rice porridge at the place of the Heike Ochudo legend
Nishi-awa is located in central Shikoku. The area is blessed with nature, including Oboke Gorge and Mt. Tsurugi, the second highest mountain in Shikoku. Nishi-Awa is less accessible to tourists than major cities in Japan, but that is precisely why the traditional scenery of Japanese villages remains.
Take a look at the beautiful scenery.
In this region deep in the mountains, there is a story associated with the Genpei War, which is a famous historical event in Japan. The Genpei War was a series of battles for supremacy between the Heike and Genji clans during the late-Heian period of Japan about 850 years ago. Fleeing Heike warriors were believed to have settled here after being defeated in battle. It is said that these Heike warriors, missing their life in Kyoto, made buckwheat-rice porridge. Listening to such stories while eating the porridge adds depth to your trip.
Appreciate the simple, mild taste of buckwheat-rice porridge
If you would like to try this local specialty, please visit Higashi-Iya, Miyoshi City in Tokushima. There are several restaurants where you can eat buckwheat-rice porridge while enjoying the beautiful landscape of lush mountains and clear rivers. The restaurant “Soba Dojo” is one such place where you can also try making soba yourself.
Buckwheat rice is made of buckwheat seeds hulled after boiling and drying. Simmer the buckwheat rice in stock until all ingredients become tender. That’s all there is to it.
Buckwheat-rice porridge has a simple and mild taste, which is slightly different from that of miso soup, a popular Japanese food. The texture of buckwheat rice is described as firm and crisp in the mouth, but it slips into the mouth smoothly with soup.
In Japan, it is common to eat buckwheat noodle, so this restaurant also offers a combination meal of buckwheat-rice porridge and noodle.
Since the taste is simple and not too heavy, it enhances your appetite in the hot and humid summer. And even in cold winter, the buckwheat-rice porridge is perfect for warming your body from inside. If you feel tired during your long trip, the mild taste of the soup will help refresh you. There are other distinctive local cuisines you should try in Nishi-Awa, including Deko-Mawashi, which is a local grilled dish of potatoes, konjaku, and firm tofu roasted on a skewer around an irori (the Japanese traditional fireplace).
Millet grains produced on steeply-sloping farmland
Various millet grains are cultivated on farmland clinging to steep mountainsides in Nishi-Awa. Since these regions are ill-suited to growing rice, buckwheat has been produced as a staple food instead.
Iya area surrounded by high mountains Why not visit here and try the local specialty of buckwheat-rice porridge? Eating the local cuisine with a deep history in the peaceful village is a superb experience.