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- Main lore areas
Izumo region, Oki region
- Main ingredients used
iwanori seaweed, rice
- History/origin/related events
The Oki Islands are an archipelago in the northeast of Shimane Prefecture, consisting of four main islands and more than 180 smaller islands. The area is 346.22 km2, and the coastline extends 468 km.
Surrounded by the sea, the Oki Islands produce a wide variety of seaweed. In winter, seaweeds such as laver and arame are harvested, and in spring, tengusa and hijiki are harvested.
From December to February, when the northerly winds blow, the rock seaweed fishing begins. Aiming for calm days when the sea surface is still, the fishermen gather on the rocks at the water's edge and carefully gather the seaweed that has grown on the rocks. This "nori picking" has become a winter tradition in Oki.
The rock seaweed harvested in Oki has a reputation for being thick, crunchy, and fragrant. After harvesting, the seaweed is pre-treated to remove pebbles and other debris, and then processed into laver sheets. Most of the seaweed is consumed locally, but some is distributed in and out of the prefecture. It is also an indispensable ingredient in the "iwanori zoni" (a traditional Oki delicacy), and is an essential ingredient for the New Year's holiday.
Bakudan-onigiri" is a popular lunch box or snack that makes lavish use of iwanori. The name "bakudan" is derived from the appearance of the large, round rice ball covered with iwanori seaweed.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
Iwanori is harvested during the fishing season and stored dry for the entire year, making it available year-round. Bakudan Onigiri" is eaten daily as a snack for children and as a staple in lunch boxes, and is well-loved by the local people.
- How to eat
Lightly grill iwanori seaweed to a slightly green color, then brush one side with soy sauce and roll the soy sauce side into a rice ball. Some onigiri may contain ingredients, but most are simple and without any ingredients. Even if there are no ingredients, the flavor of the iwanori seaweed is enough to make the onigiri worth eating. When you bite into it, the mouth is filled with the rich aroma of the sea.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
It is eaten by ordinary households on a daily basis. In addition, it can be purchased inexpensively at local side dish shops, cafeterias, and supermarkets. In Oki, seaweed salt is extracted from seawater in which seaweed arame is soaked, and the cultivation of "seaweed salt rice," which is grown by spreading this salt, is being promoted. Bakudan onigiri" made from this salt-algal rice is popular among tourists as a way to fully enjoy the bounty of Oki.