Wakasa Obama, “Miketsukuni” –The Sabakaido (mackerel highway) Leading to Kyoto, Starts Right Here–
Wakasa Obama was once a region responsible for supplying salt and marine products to the Imperial Household, called "Miketsukuni". Blessed with riches from the mountains, plains, rivers and the sea, natural foodstuffs were sent over roads known as the Sabakaido (mackerel highway) to Kyoto, establishing Kyoto’s food culture. Excellent food preservation techniques as well as a lifestyle indebted to nature that brings forth blessings to the people, are still alive in this region even today.
Local food: Mackerel Heshiko
The fermented food, mackerel heshiko (or pickled mackerel), is made by pickling fresh mackerel in salt and rice bran for nearly a year. This has been the preferred method of preserving a good catch of mackerel. Compared to fresh mackerel, preserved mackerel contain 8 times more glutamic acid which gives it a uniquely rich and savory flavor. Don’t be surprised if you find you can eat several bowls of rice with this traditional local food.
Local food: Mackerel Sushi
In addition to eating fresh seafood, there are many recipes for preparing seafood caught in Wakasa Bay that will not ruin its natural savory flavor. One example is narezushi which uses pickled mackerel. Sushi is said to have been developed based on this dish. Other examples include mackerel sushi, an indispensable treat found at festivals in Obama and Kyoto. Wakasa Obama kodai sasazuke are small sea bream fillets pickled with salt and vinegar in a small cask made of cedar. High quality tilefish, whose meat and scales are tender, are grilled Wakasa-style and served.
Scenery: Sotomo Arch
Sotomo Arch boasts 6 km of scenic cliffs, unusual rock formations and rock tunnels stretching into Wakasa Bay. This picturesque spot was chosen by the American news channel CNN as one of the most beautiful places in Japan. The rice terraces in Tagarasu are surrounded by the ocean and mountains offering an original landscape of Japan. As you cruise around the shore, your eyes will be pleased by the variety of views.
Experience: Fisherman Experience
Harvesting seaweed and fishing for octopus with a trap net; fishing, cooking and eating sea bream; making your own chopsticks; and cooking local dishes; a wide variety of hands-on attractions are available that let you enjoy seafood from Wakasa Bay and learn about the fishing village lifestyle.
Sightseeing route: Wakasahime Jinja Shrine
Wakasa Obama is often likened to Nara Prefecture which features numerous temples and shrines. One big difference between these two locations is that no part of Nara is bordered by the ocean. Temples and shrines classified as national treasures can be found in Wakasa Obama. In parts of the Sanchomachi district where the atmosphere of Kyoto culture is deeply reflected, you can play games with Geisha. At the Miketsukuni Wakasa Obama Food Culture Museum, visitors can learn about Japanese food culture through exhibits and hands-on experiences. A built-in kitchen studio offers full-f ledged cooking workshops.
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