- Main lore areas
All over the prefecture, Iwakuni area
- Main ingredients used
Rice, fish, eggs, shiitake mushrooms, lotus root
- History/origin/related events
Iwakuni City is known as the eastern gateway to Yamaguchi Prefecture. The city has a history of prosperity as a castle town of 60,000 goku of the Yoshikawa domain, and even today, it is blessed with numerous historical and cultural assets as well as beautiful nature. The famous symbol of the city is the Kintai Bridge, a five-storied arched bridge that was built some 300 years ago. Iwakuni-zushi" is one of the most famous food items in Iwakuni.
It is a pressed sushi, also called "tonosama-zushi" (lord sushi), which was presented to Lord Yoshikawa of the Iwakuni Clan in the Edo period (1603-1868) and was said to be a favorite of the lord. The dish is made with gorgeous ingredients typical of a castle town, and is gorgeously stacked in three to five tiers. It has been made as a celebratory gift or an offering. In order to make a large quantity of sushi at one time, the wooden sushi frame can be as large as 60 centimeters square. When making large pieces of sushi, the craftsmen would sometimes press the sushi on top of the lid to harden it. The finished sushi is then cut into squares and served to the customers one by one.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
As a dish to be served at festive occasions, it has a proud tradition dating back to the feudal era.
- How to eat
Place a chicha leaf at the bottom of the sushi frame and fill it with sushi rice mixed with horse mackerel or other fish paste. After the rice is beautifully decorated with a broiled egg, shiitake mushrooms, dengbu, and vinegared Iwakuni lotus root (a specialty of Iwakuni), another layer of chishya leaves is laid on top, and finally a wooden lid is placed over the top to weigh down the rice. The basic recipe is for one tier to hold one square of rice, and at Japanese-style restaurants, the chef, dressed in a white tabi (socks), would place one foot on the lid and pull the lid off with all his strength. When making it at home, a lunch box, square mold, milk carton, or cake mold can be used instead.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
The dumpling can be tasted at restaurants and inns in Iwakuni City, especially in the Kintai Bridge area, and there are also take-out items available.