- Main lore areas
Central region (Shizuoka City), Izu Peninsula (Izu City), Eastern region (Gotemba City, Oyama Town)
- Main ingredients used
Wasabi (Japanese horseradish)
- History/origin/related events
Wasabi pickles are made by marinating chopped wasabi leaves, stems, and roots in sake lees.
Wasabi is said to have originated during the Keicho era (1596-1615), when wild wasabi, which had been growing wild on Bukkoku-san (Mt. Butsudani) in the Aoi Ward of Shizuoka City's Aoi Ward since before that time, was planted near a spring source in the same area. Tokugawa Ieyasu, who spent his later years at Sunpu Castle, forbade the wasabi from leaving the area, and for many years it never left the Aritogi district. However, in the mid-18th century, the cultivation method spread to the Izu area, and later, when the "tatami-ishiki" method of cultivation was developed in the Naka-Izu area, it spread throughout Shizuoka Prefecture and even throughout Japan.
Shizuoka Prefecture boasts the highest yields and quality of wasabi in Japan* due to its abundant rainfall, geological features, and spring water that is around 13°C year-round, making it ideal for wasabi cultivation. Currently, wasabi is cultivated without the use of fertilizers as much as possible by creating stepped wasabi fields in mountainous areas with spring water, and the "Traditional Cultivation of Shizuoka Water Wasabi" has been recognized as a World Agricultural Heritage and Japan Agricultural Heritage.
Wasabi pickles were first sold in Shizuoka Station, which opened in 1889, and are still one of the most popular Shizuoka souvenirs, and are often served at home. It is a favorite dish mainly among adults because of the pungent taste of wasabi and sakekasu (sake lees).
Source: Shizuoka Wasabi Agricultural Heritage Promotion Council
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
Wasabi is eaten throughout the year. It is served on top of hot rice or as a snack.
- How to eat
Cut wasabi stems and roots into thin strips and marinate them in salt overnight. Knead sake lees with sugar and sake, and when smooth, squeeze salted wasabi into the sake lees. Stir to blend well. Transfer into an airtight container and let stand for 2 to 3 days until it becomes pungent and ready to eat.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
Wasabi-zuke is always sold at supermarkets and food stores in the prefecture as well as at souvenir stores in train stations. In order to publicize the attractiveness of "Shizuoka water horseradish," differentiate it from other production areas, and pass on the traditional food culture, a "Gems of Shizuoka Water Wasabi" certification system (Shizuoka Wasabi Agricultural Heritage Promotion Council) has been established.