- Main lore areas
Owari area / Himakajima
- Main ingredients used
- History/origin/related events
“Tako-meshi” (octopus rice) is said to have been a type of fisherman's meal in which octopus caught by fishermen was chopped into small pieces on the boat and cooked with rice. In addition to Aichi Prefecture, it is often eaten in the Seto Inland Sea region, including Ehime, Kagawa and Hiroshima prefectures. Himaka Island, located in Mikawa Bay, is called the "Island of Octopus" because it is rich in high-quality octopus. Octopus characters can be seen everywhere on the island, including monuments and manhole covers, and a summer octopus festival is held to pray for the octopus and a good catch. The Anraku-ji Temple on the island is known as "Tako Amida" because of an anecdote about a large octopus wrapped around the temple's statue of Buddha to protect it when it was pulled out of the water by fishermen after it sank during an earthquake. On Himaka Island, where octopus is a specialty, you can enjoy various kinds of octopus dishes including "Tako-meshi".
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
In the Minamichita area, there used to be a custom of eating octopus on the day of the summer solstice. This was an important day for farmers as it marked the 11th day after the summer solstice and marked the end of rice planting. The octopus has eight legs with suckers attached, and it is said that farmers offered the octopus to the gods in the hope that the seedlings would take root firmly and that they would have a bountiful harvest. The custom of eating octopus on the day of the Han-summer festival is widely seen mainly in the Seto Inland region, and the price of octopus rose before Han-summer. Since octopus is rich in taurine, which is believed to be good for relieving fatigue, many people eat it to prevent summer fatigue.
- How to eat
Nationally, boiled octopus is often mixed with rice, but in Aichi Prefecture, raw octopus is usually cooked together with rice. It is sometimes called "sakura-meshi" (cherry blossom rice) because the rice turns a beautiful cherry color when cooked together. It is good to simply taste the octopus alone, but you can also add chopped carrots for color, sprinkle chopped green onion after serving, or garnish with sprouts or aonori (green laver). If fresh octopus is not available, steamed or dried octopus can be substituted.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
In addition to being included in school lunch menus, the entire community is actively promoting the octopus, especially in Minamichita Town, but also on Nichigashima and Sasajima.
Tako-meshi" is also available at restaurants in the prefecture, with each restaurant offering its own unique seasoning.