Nagano Prefecture



Nagano Prefecture (長野県, Nagano-ken) is a prefecture of Japan located in the Chūbu region of the island of Honshū. The capital is the city of Nagano.
Nagano was formerly known as the province of Shinano.

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Lake Suwa, Suwako 諏訪湖
It ranks 24th in Japan in surface area.

Temple Zenkoji
WKD : Temple Zenkoji Gokaicho 善光寺

Rokuben, Bento for a kabuki performance
ろくべん, 大鹿歌舞伎
Nagano、Oshika mura 大鹿村

growing area of daikon radish for takuan pickles.

Matsumoto Castle (松本城 ,Matsumoto-jō)
also known as Fukashi Castle, is a flatland castle and one of Japan's historic castles. Located in the city of Matsumoto, in Nagano Prefecture.
This castle is also called "Crow Castle" because of its black walls and spreading wings. It is an example of a flatland castle, not being built on a hilltop or amid rivers.
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Its moat is about 60 meters wide, just enough to protect the buildings from the bullets of guns, that had just been introduced to Japan.
The outside walls are painted with laquer to protect it from catching fire easily and craftsmen in many generations are doing the painting for three months every year, hanging from safety ropes high up on the castle walls.
During the peaceful Edo period, a "Tower to watch the moonshine" tsukimi yagura 月見櫓 was also build. It has a beautiful red railing painted in red laquer to protect it from the elements.
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Kaida kogen (Kaida koogen 開田高原)
Kaida Highlands

at the foot of Mount Ontake 御岳
They grow a lot of buckwheat and when cut, hang it on the fields in a special manner that looks like a person standing up (sobadate 蕎麦立て. そば立て)
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Once the army of the enemy was fooled by the vision and thought hundreds of soldiers were waiting for them ... and retreated without a fight.

sunki-zuke, sunkizuke スンキ漬 / スンキ漬け fermented red turnip stems and leaves
akakabu no kuki. (zunki, tsunki)
from Kiso, South-West Nagano
The name comes from "sour stems" suppai kuki ... sunki.
Since there was no salt in the old days, the fermentation of vegetables to keep for winter was introduced with the juice of wild grapes (yamabudoo).  Each housewife had her own taste, keeping about 8 bunches of the turnips to put them in the bucket for the next year to ferment into lactobacteria Milchsaurebakterien. The fermentation provided the vitamies for winter.
Before pickling, the small bit of turnip with the leaves is blanched in hot water for about 8 seconds to kill the bacteria. When fermenting over night, it needs a special temperature provided by the cold wind of the area in winter.
Grandmothers make as much as they can do themselves, from growing the turnips to harvesting and pickling. They give away much to their children and grandchildren, but there are fewer families now to make them.
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These pickles are put over a dish of freshly made buckwheat noodles
sunki toojisoba スンキとうじ蕎麦
or fried with tofu. Even sunki on pizza is now tried by the local farmwifes, who have founded a group to "Study the use of sunki".
The red turnips are put in the ground right in the fields, covered with earth and dug out in small portions to be eaten in winter by the farmers. They also pickle them now with salt as normal tsukemono, when the turnips take on the red-purple color from the outside.

In the Kaida area the old type of the real KISO UMA 木曾馬, horses from the Kiso area, are now kept again and villagers are trying to increase their number.

Farmers used to live with the horses under one roof and feed them dry grass in the wintertime. The area now still has more than 1000 stone markers to pray for the safety of the horses to Bato Kannon (Batoo Kannon 馬頭観音), Kannon in an incarnation with horse heads above her head.
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Nagano regional dishes 長野郷土料理

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basashi 馬刺し raw horse meat
Horse meat, baniku (ばにく/ 馬肉) basashi, sakuranabe
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gohei mochi, goheimochi 五平餅 grilled rice dumplings
Made from rice flour. Grilled with a sauce of miso and walnuts (kurumi).
Also made in Eastern Gifu.
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Gohei mochi offering for
. Yamanokami in Toyama 富山県 .

Gohei mochi offering for
Yama no Kami 山の神 Deity of the Mountains in Gifu
. Sake 酒 rice wine for regional rituals .

. Guhin mochi 狗賓餅 rice cakes for the Guhin Tengu Yokai .
Guhin mochi were later called Gohei mochi 五平餅.

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koi ryoori 鯉料理 carp dishes
koi koku, koi-koku 鯉こく carp dish
carp is cut in rings and pickled in Shinshu miso paste. Then simmered for a long time in miso paste. A kind of carp soup.
The town of Saku is famous for carp cultivation, more than 300 years, with clear water ponds. The water in the Shinshu area is quite cold and carp are strong.
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koi no arai 鯉のあらい carp innards
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kurumi ohagi, kurumi o-hagi くるみおはぎ
dumplings with walnut paste
A sauce is made from fried walnuts in soysauce and sugar.
The town of Tomi 東御市 is known for its production of walnuts.
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Walnuts have been introduced to the area from America. Before that, there were two sorts of wild Japanese varieties with much smaller, harder nuts.
Kurumi 胡桃Walnut, KIGO

inekoki-na 稲核菜
Leaves of the trunip in the Inekoki area
Rübenblätter aus der Region Inekoki.

Jibachi senbei 地蜂煎餅, 地蜂せんべいWasp rice crackers

mannen-zushi 万年ずし "10000 Sushi"
From the area of Ootaki Village
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nira senbei ニラせんべい crackers with Chinese leek
Nira can be used fresh from spring to autumn. All families prepare this kind, which is rather an omelette flavored with soy sauce and sugar.
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Nozawana-zuke 野沢菜漬 nozawanazuke
pickled green leafy vegetable
Vegetable from Nozawa hot spring, Nagano.

oshibori udon おしぼりうどん "udon noodles in wrought-out sauce"
from Hanishina-gun 埴科郡坂城町
made with a rather pungent radish, "rat radish" nezumi daikon ねずみ大根, which is grated and the juice mixed with Shinshu Miso paste. The noodles are dipped in the sauce.
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oyaki, o-yaki おやき , お焼き, 御焼(き)
grilled dumplings with vegetables

eaten everywhere in Nagano, especially during the O-Bon ancestor festival.
Their place of origin is said to be the Azumino area 安曇野(あづみの).
Known since the Muromachi period, sometimes seen as a rural kind of simple manjuu.
Mountain vegetables (sansai) and seasonal vegetables are fried with soy sauce and miso paste. Sweet bean paste is also added. The mixture is wrapped in dough and can be grilled or steamed for eating. Best when roasted on an iron pan at the irori open hearth in the farmhouse.
The dough is usually made with wheat flour, but sometimes buckwheat flour or even millet flour and sometimes rice flour is used.
It keeps the hunger off for a long time and is eaten as oyatsu in the afternoon or a snack in the evening. They can also be eaten cold.
Other fillings are apple, potatoes with maize corn, cheese with pumpkin or adzuki beans only.
Hijiki (braune Meeralgen), kinpira, mixed vegetables or pumpkin and eggplants only.
Dried radish (kiriboshi daikon), nozawana leafy vegetables, shimeji mushrooms and vegetables,
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joomon o-yaki 縄文おやき  from Ogawa Village 小川村
They are good for your health, they contain a big bowl of healthy vegetables and are low in calories.
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In the areas with heavy snow in winter, there is no wheat harvest and rice flour is used. These dumplings are called anbo あんぼ.
mit Gemüse gefüllte Reisküchlein
(konchin is a type of o-yaki in Tosa).

o-yaki is an old word from the imperial court kitchen (女房詞(にょうぼうことば), meaning yakimochi.
In Yamanashi prefecture the snack of a farmhouse is made as a yakidango 焼き団子, grilled ball, but also called o-yaki.
They can be grilled by putting them into the ashes of the open hearth fire and are eaten hot with sugar and some soy sauce.

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roomen ローメン noodle dish
(almost like ramen)
with tomatoes and other fried vegetables and Chinese soba noodles.
Often mutton or lamb meat is added.
from the Ina region 長野県伊那地方
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sasadango 笹団子 (ささだんご) dumplings on sasa leaves

sasa sushi, sasa-zushi 笹寿司 Sushi served on sasa leaves
wrapped in sasa leaves. A kind of oshizushi.
Sasa japonica. bamboo grass
During the battles at Kawanakajima, there were no vessels to serve the food in. So the soldiers took these leaves, which are abundant, and placed their food on them.
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Kawanakajima no tatakai 川中島の戦い
were fought in the Sengoku Period of Japan between Takeda Shingen of Kai Province and Uesugi Kenshin of Echigo Province in the plain of Kawanakajima, in the north of Shinano Province. The location is in the southern part of the present-day city of Nagano.
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sekihan 赤飯 "red rice"
cooked with sweet beans amanatto and the sweet juice of the beans
roter Reis mit suessen Feuerbohnen
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sekihan manjuu, sekihan manju 赤飯饅頭 manju with red rice inside
from Iida town, 飯田市
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Shinshuu miso 信州味噌 miso paste
Shinshuu-miso, Miso aus der Gegend Shinshuu, Nagano
Eine weiße Miso mit bis zu 18 Prozent Salzgehalt. Sie braucht nur drei bis vier Monate zur Fermentierung. Sie hat einen leicht säuerlichen, sehr aromatischen Geschmack.

Shinshuu saamon 信州サーモン "salmon from Shinshu"
This is a cross-breed of rainbow trout and brown trout. It is a sweetwater lake trout fish.
Its taste is superb and very good for sushi and sashimi.
Its meat is finer than rainbow trout, but invitingly red.
The fish does not lay eggs and thus keeps all its energy for good taste. It is hoped to revive the local food industry with this fish.
From 長野県水産試験場
Nagano Prefectural fisheries experimental station.
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Shinshuu soba 信州蕎麦, soba buckwheat noodles
from Shinshu, Nagano
Buckwheat grows well in the cold mountains of Nagano. Best in Togakushi and Norikura 戸隠、乗鞍.

. Norikura no kanata haruboshi kagirinashi .

Maeda Fura 前田普羅


shio 塩 SALT

shioika, shio-ika 塩イカ salted squid
The squid is salted for 16 hours, then drained for 3 hours in clear water. It is prepared with vinegar into a su no mono dish. 酢の物
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This way of eating is only found in Nagano prefecture.

Squid was transported along the old "salt road" 塩の道 shio no michi along Itoikawa to Nagano.
squid is also simmered, niika, ni-ika 煮イカ
cut in rings and eaten with soysauce as a kind of sashimi in Nagano.
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. shio no michi 塩の道 the salt roads of Japan .
- Shio no michi Chojiya 塩の道ちょうじや Salt Road Museum, Nagano

ichirizuka sugi himori no shio no michi

past the milestone mound
the sun is high up in the sky
of the salt road

佐々木小夜 Sasaki Sayo

. ichirizuka 一里塚 milestone mound .

- Shio ... Salt  塩 and WASHOKU

Salzstrasse, Salzstraße


soba with yamabokuchi やまぼくち (山火口)
Menrui ... all kinds of noodles 麺類

taguri, o-taguri おたぐり speciality of horse innards.

takenoko jiru 竹の子汁 miso soup with bamboo shoots
and tinned fish, saba can タケノコ汁」にサバ缶
The special thin bamboo is only harvested about two months in early summer. And one or two tins of saba fish are added.
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wakasagi 諏訪湖ワカサギ pond smelt
from Lake Suwako. They are best in early spring, when they come to lay eggs.
They are also fished in winter through holes in the ice.
Hypomesus transpacificus nipponensis
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yamashio, yamajio 山塩 "salt from the mountains"

from Oshika mura in Nagano 大鹿村

Worldwide use

Diese traditionellen Reisküchlein sind in vielen Berggegenden in Nagano ein beliebter Snack am Nachmittag. Währnd der Edo-Zeit, als Reis in diesen Bergregionen noch etwas besonderes war, wurden sie nur zu Festlichkeiten zubereitet.
Kleine runde Klöße aus gekochtem und kleingestampftem Reis werden auf einen Spieß gesteckt oder für einen länglichen Kloß wird der gestampfte Reis einfach um einen Spieß aus Bambus oder Zedernholz gedrückt. Die längliche Form erinnert an einen Schlitten oder ein altes Goldstück (koban). Diese Reisklöße werden am Herdfeuer kurz angebraten.

Für die Sauce wird nach Familientradition eine Sojasauce mit Miso-Paste, Walnüssen und Sesam angerührt und über die Klöße gestrichen. In der Gegend von Kiso wird die Sojasauce mit kleingehackten grünen Perillablättern und Zucker zubereitet. Neuerdings wird sogar Erdnussbutter untergemischt, manchmal auch noch Eier, Honig oder Bienenlarven.
Der Name leitet sich ab von einem Ritualgegenstand des Shintooismus, einem Szepter mit geweihten weißen gefalteten Papierstreifen (gohei 御幣), denn die Form ähnelt diesem Gohei-Stab.
Die Stadt Tomi in Nagano ist eine der bekanntesten für den Anbau von Walnüssen in Japan.

Things found on the way


曲げておる婆の背中や スンキ付け
magete oru baba no senaka ya sunkizuke

the bend back
of the old farmers wife -
pickled sunki

Gabi Greve, December 2008

Related words

Menrui ... all kinds of noodles 麺類

***** WASHOKU : Regional Japanese Dishes


- #nagano #shionomichi #saltroad -


Gabi Greve said...

Akiba Kaido 秋葉街道 Akiba Highway
遠信古道 Enshu Kodo
Now mostly along the National Hiahway 152.
This road is related to the belief in the deity
. Akibagongen 秋葉権現 Akiba Gongen .

It is also related to
. shio no mich 塩の道 the Salt Road .
"Southenr Salt" 南塩 from 相良 Sagara (in Enshu, now Shizuoka) was transported to 諏訪湖 Lake Suwako and Nagano.
In Shizuoka the road was called 信州街道 Shinshu Kaido
connecting Sagara with 長野県飯田市 Iida city in Nagano

Gabi Greve said...

The main "Salt Road" was used for transportation of salt from Nihonkai 日本海 to 松本 Matsumoto in Nagano.
Also known as
Chikuni Kaido (Chikoku Kaido) 千国街道
Matsumoto Kaido 松本街道