- Main lore areas
West Mikawa / East Mikawa / Okumikawa area
- Main ingredients used
Uruchi rice, miso, soy sauce
- History/origin/related events
“Gohei-mochi” is a local cuisine originating in the mountains of the Chubu region, including Okumikawa in Aichi Prefecture, Kiso and Ina in Nagano Prefecture, and Hida in Gifu Prefecture, and may date back to the middle of the Edo period (about 1700 - 1750). It is said that lumberjacks, hunters and other mountain workers used to make and eat “Gohei-mochi” on the eve of a "Yama no kou (mountain festival)" to pray for their safety while working in the mountains. There are many theories as to the origin of the name "Gohei"; some say it was created in the shape of a "gohei” (ritual wand with pleated paper), an offering to the gods; others say it originated as a portable food for mountain workers; and still others say it originated from a man named "Gohei" who would spread miso on his rice balls and roast them over a fire when he ate his lunch.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
In the mid-Edo period, when rice was very precious, gohei-mochi was eaten at festivals and other festive occasions. In those days, everyone enjoyed making "gohei-mochi," from adults to children, including men, and sometimes even guests. Nowadays, gohei-mochi is eaten in a variety of situations as a light and convenient snack. It is especially popular as a gourmet food to be enjoyed while on vacation.
- How to eat
Freshly cooked Uruchi rice is mashed to make it look like a rice cake, flattened and skewered, dipped in miso sauce, and grilled before eating. The most common form is a flat oval shaped waraji, but there are many variations such as flat dango.
The secret to enjoying Gohei-mochi is to make the rice cake as thin as possible and cook it thoroughly to the core. Also, if you casually make the surface of the rice cake wavy with your fingers, it will be easier for the sauce to adhere to the surface. The miso sauce used for the rice cakes differs from household to household and from store to store. Walnuts, sesame seeds, peanuts, garlic, green onions, and other ingredients are kneaded into the miso to create a variety of flavors to enjoy.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
It is served in school lunch menus and as a light meal at events. In addition, there are various stores that sell "Gohei-mochi" mainly in the Okumikawa area, and each store offers its own unique flavor.