- Main lore areas
Mikuma River and Ono River basin
- Main ingredients used
- History/origin/related events
Oita Prefecture is home to 585 clear streams, including the Mikuma River, which is upstream from the main stream of the Chikugo River, a first-class river, and the Ono River, the largest river in the prefecture at 107 km in length, each of which brought bounty to the region. Ayu, in particular, was prized as a valuable source of protein in mountainous areas. The river basin is dotted with kapposai and Japanese restaurants that serve ayu dishes.
Ayu dishes that have taken root in the river basin include "ayu uruka" (ayu fish). Uruka" is a salted fish. Ayu Uruka" is made from ayu caught in the clear waters of the Mikuma and Ono Rivers. There are three types of "Uruka": "mini-uruka", "ko-uruka", and "niga-uruka". Each of them is classified into three types: (1) "mini-uruka": fresh ayu meat and entrails are made into "uruka". (2) Baby Uruka: Fresh ayu with its eggs and milt taken out and made into Uruka. (3) Goshi Uruka: Ayu with its entrails only made into Uruka. The following are the characteristics of this type of ayu. In Oita Prefecture, "ayu Uruka" often refers to "niga Uruka. Many people prefer the unique bitter and astringent taste of "Niga Uruka," partly because the entrails are used.
Since ayu can only be caught at limited times of the year, "Uruka" was created as a means of preserving ayu. Because it is a fermented food, it is said to be effective in tonifying the stomach and intestines, and has long been useful for stomachaches and other stomachaches.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
From July to August, when the spawning season is over, ayu is considered to be delicious as it stores nutrients in the body. Ayu is a very tasty food during the spawning season from July to August, when the body stores up nutrients.
A long time ago, households used to make "ayu-ruka", but the opportunity to make it at home has decreased due to the time-consuming nature of the process. It can be purchased at local souvenir shops and direct sales.
- How to eat
Mince fresh ayu meat and entrails with a knife, add salt, and let it mature for about one week. It can be used in a variety of ways, such as on hot rice, as a snack, or as a seasoning.
It is said that using chopsticks made of cedar wood when adding salt and mixing the meat and entrails together promotes fermentation and produces delicious Uruka.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
(Outline of the people who have passed down the tradition, preservation groups, use of SNS, modern efforts such as commercialization, etc.)
Although there are fewer opportunities to make Uruka at home, it can be purchased at souvenir shops, direct sales centers, and supermarkets. Some shops sell sets in which you can compare the tastes of "mini-uruka," "juvenile uruka," and "nigaura uruka.