- Main lore areas
Southern Hida region to Chuno region
- Main ingredients used
rice, magnolia leaves, vinegar
- History/origin/related events
It is a traditional early summer dish made by wrapping vinegared rice in the leaves of a magnolia tree, and has been eaten as a feast during the farming holidays such as rice planting.
In the area where it has been handed down from generation to generation, there is always a magnolia tree planted in the garden or in the surrounding area, with large leaves growing thickly. The leaves of the magnolia tree are believed to have antifungal properties as well as bactericidal properties. In particular, the enzyme "hinokitiol" contained in the leaves has high antibacterial properties, and together with the vinegar used in rice vinegar, it was very useful during the planting season when food products were likely to spoil due to the high temperature and humidity.
The use of magnolia leaves made it possible to eat without chopsticks and without soiling one's hands, so it is said to have originated as a portable food for mountain work and busy farming seasons. The first time, however, it was a simple dish of salted salmon from the Hokuriku region, made with vinegared rice, and topped with salmon.
- Opportunities and times of eating habits
The season for hoba-zushi is from May to August because of the color and fragrance of the leaves of the magnolia tree.
In Higashishirakawa Village, located in the Chuno region of Gifu Prefecture, rice paddy farming was carried out by neighbors in a joint effort called "yui" until the mid-Showa period. When rice planting was requested by neighbors, hoba-zushi was served for lunch as it could be prepared the day before and was easy to clean up afterwards as no dishes were needed.
- How to eat
In the Tono area, many households wrap the sushi rice with seven or eight colorful ingredients such as candied river fish, vinegared mackerel, egg, red ginger, etc., before placing them on top, while in the Hida area, some households prefer a lighter taste and simply use myoga and sushi rice.
There are various ways to wrap the leaves, such as simply folding the leaves in half or wrapping them in a square shape.
- Efforts for Preservation and Succession
In addition to being used as a school lunch menu item at schools, kindergartens, and nursery schools throughout the prefecture, Ena City is making efforts to pass on the tradition by showing a video of the cooking process on the Internet.
Every year, from mid-May to July, it is sold at direct sales of agricultural products in the Tono area and surrounding areas, and can also be tasted at restaurants.