This is a travel blog for desktop travelers and other ramblers who want to know the world just a little bit better.

Right now I am living in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala where I'll be settled for a while. Thanks for reading!

Monday, June 7, 2010

We All Scream for Wasabi Ice Cream!

After five days in Mika’s sleepy hometown and five nights of jetlag (up around 5AM every morning) we decide to make an excursion to Matsumoto to see Japan’s oldest standing castle. After the 1hr. bus ride we decide to continue on by train another 25 minutes to Hotaka. From Hotaka station it is another 20 minutes by bicycle past rice fields with the Japanese Alps as our backdrop when we finally arrive at Daio Wasabi Farm, the country’s largest grower of the famous root also known as Japanese horseradish. Wasabi is most commonly used as a paste with sushi.

The short walk over and around the wasabi plants is beautiful. The black canopies shading the short green plants stretches on and on. A stream of pure mountain water running adjacent to the plants is used for irrigation. What is noticeably lacking here, however, is any in depth information about the actual process of growing wasabi.

It seems like the whole purpose of opening this farm to the public is to sell wasabi-based food products. And it works, as evidenced by the bus load of excited junior high students who headed straight for the wasabi ice cream stand and then moped around the farm bored for the rest of their visit. Overall, there are about six shops and two restaurants selling products like fresh
wasabi roots, wasabi juice, wasabi miso paste, wasabi crackers, wasabi beer, etc., etc..
One other small highlight of the farm are the creaky wooden water wheels. Movie buffs will recognize these from Akira Kurosawa’s film, “Dreams.”

A: Ina-city (Mika's hometown) B: Hotaka

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