April 14, 2017

A Visit to Daio Wasabi Farm in Nagano, Japan

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  • Watermill by the river

    Immerse yourself by learning how wasabi is cultivated, from planting to harvesting.

    Wasabi is a very important product of Japan, whose demand has increased significantly throughout the years. The lovely early autumn morning had us making our way to visit Daio Wasabi Farm that is located in the outskirts of Matsumoto.

    Daio Wasabi Farm is one of the largest wasabi farms in Japan. Here, wasabi master himself, Mr. Hama, will welcome you.  Daio Wasabi Farm is like a park complete with restaurants, shrines, and souvenir shops that sell wasabi-related products.

    The very entertaining wasabi master, Mr. Shigetoshi Hama

    First, you will explore the Daio Shrine where the ancient local hero, Hachimen Daio, is revered. Next, you will visit the location of the Hollywood movie Dreams directed by Akira Kurosawa. The majestic view of the two lakes and watermill only added the beauty of the place. Then, you will be headed to the farm proper to observe the process of growing wasabi. Here you will learn that there are two different kinds of wasabi: the horse radish and the hon wasabi, which are mainly grown here in Daio Wasabi Farm. It is also considered as the ‘real’ wasabi. According to Mr. Hama, wasabi can only be grown in clean running water and will take one and a half years to grow. The root and rhizomes of wasabi contains the most flavor and nutrients. The rhizomes are grinded to extract wasabi’s fresh, sharp and sweet flavor.

    Extracting the paste from a fresh wasabi

    You can buy wasabi from ¥500 to ¥1500

    A trip to Daio Wasabi Farm will not only help you learn about the its origins but also respect and appreciate the people who grow them.

    Wasabi ice cream

    How to get there

    Take the JR train from Matsumoto station to Hotaka station (30 minutes away). Then, grab a taxi to take you to the wasabi farm (10 minutes away).

    To go back, ask the staff to call a taxi.  Entrance is free of charge.

    Daio Wasabi Farm during winter

    Details:

    GO! NAGANO (Nagano Prefecture Official Tourism Guide)
    www.go-nagano.net

    Daio Wasabi Farm
    1692 Hotaka, Azumino City, Nagano

    *This story first appeared in Philippine Primer magazine April 2017 issue.

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