A culinary fount: Kyoto by the sea A realm of food born from the sea, the mountains, and the countryside
Region： Northern Kyoto
About two hours away from the city of Kyoto by train, northern Kyoto Prefecture is bounded by the Sea of Japan and in older times served as a gateway to the Asian continent. A land of bounty, this region has long provided food and human resources to the capital at Kyoto. Many myths and legends have been passed down concerning the origins of food, one of which concerns Toyouke-no-Okami, the Goddess of Food, who is said to have created rice cultivation in northern Kyoto. To this day, the local people observe the cultural traditions surrounding the bountiful foods provided by the sea, the mountains, and the countryside.
Regional foods: Tango barazushi
Named after Tango, an old province of Japan, Tango barazushi is made in a wooden box. Various ingredients—including mackerel crumbles, which are unique to this dish—are arranged on top of sushi rice. Traditionally, Tango barazushi is eaten on special occasions, and the rice is divided with a wooden spatula and eaten as a family.
Regional foods: Heshiko
Pickling fish or vegetables in rice bran is called nukazuke and is a traditional preservation method in Japan. When made using mackerel, nukazuke is known as heshiko in northern Kyoto. The region has produced a number of unique dishes including yellowtail shabu-shabu, grilled crab, and nikujaga, a meat-and-potato stew simmered in a sweet soy sauce broth. Northern Kyoto’s abundant food ingredients make such excellent dishes possible throughout the year.
In northern Kyoto, enjoy the varied scenery that shows how people have lived harmoniously with nature. Two of the finest examples are the Amanohashidate sandbar, which is one of the Three Views of Japan, and Ine, which is designated as one of the most beautiful villages in Japan. The village is notable for its funaya houses, which are built with space for storing a fishing boat. Another feature to watch for is the fusion of Japanese traditions with those from the West, such as the red brick buildings of Maizuru and Bito Family House on Chirimen Kaido Street in Yosano.
Activities: Hand-rolled Sushi Making
Learning how to make new food is a great way to immerse yourself in local culture, and visitors can try their hand at making Tango barazushi or nigirizushi (hand-pressed sushi) with freshly caught fish. Seadogs and intrepid travelers will want to paddle in a sea kayak or go out with a local fisherman to set bait in a secret fishing spot. Northern Kyoto offers these and many other activities to experience the sea, the mountains, and the countryside.
Sightseeing route: Sake Brewery Visit
How about a sake and wine tour? Visit twelve sake breweries and a winery which produce innovative products while preserving traditional techniques. What better way to learn about the origins of traditional Japanese food culture than by discussing it with local brewers over a cupe of sake?
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