TitleSPECIALTIESBREWING CULTURE IN AICHI

Hatcho Miso

A diversity of gems born from the brewing industry, a traditional craft of Japan

Miso-katsu, miso-oden, miso-dengaku...Aichi Prefecture has a large number of dishes which use miso, and the miso used in all of them is "Hatcho miso". Hatcho miso is a healthy food which uses only soybeans, salt and water as its raw materials and is matured over a long period of time using traditional methods. It's a magical ingredient with the distinctive feature that even if you stew it, the savoriness increases and the aroma changes very little, so in contrast with rice miso and the like, the more you stew it, the more delicious it gets.

Image

Image

Mirin
Mirin is a traditional Japanese seasoning which brings out savoriness, richness and natural sweetness, eliminates any odors ingredients may have and gives food a refined aroma and flavor. Drunk in ancient times as a sweet sake, mirin came to be used in cooking like sauces for eel and soups for noodles as an alternative to sugar, which was a precious commodity. The Mikawa region produces large amounts of high-quality mirin made only from junmai (sake made without adding sugar or alcohol).

Image

Vinegar
Aichi is actually deeply connected with the birth of a food that truly represents Japanese cuisine, "nigirizushi." Sushi established itself as a part of Edo (Tokyo) food culture because it became possible for people to get their hands on vinegar for a reasonable price thanks to a new technique of making vinegar from sake lees which was developed at sake breweries in Handa, Aichi Prefecture. There are many ways to use vinegar in cooking, such as to reduce oiliness when preparing meat dishes, as a dressing for making pickles, and also as a drink.

Image

Tamari Soy Sauce
The origins of tamari soy sauce are said to be the quintessentially Aichi Prefecture seasoning, soybean miso, during the process of making which people tried taking out just the liquid that oozed out. Normal soy sauce is made half from soybeans and half from wheat, but Aichi's tamari soy sauce is made almost entirely with soybeans. Because it uses a large amount of soybeans, it has a rich savoriness and unique aroma, and gives a deeper flavor to Japanese foods like sashimi, sushi and stews.

Image

Japanese Sake
Aichi was close to the capitals Nara and Kyoto and production of sake was encouraged, so new brewing techniques spread quickly and good sake had been getting brewed since ancient times. Aichi sakes are characterized by the fact that it has a good texture and is easy to drink. They use rice and yeast produced within the prefecture that are ideal for making sake and are brewed using soft water from the Kiso River and Yahagi River water systems. These are sakes that are highly regarded nationwide. From varieties with a refreshing dryness to wine-like fruity varieties, a wide range of refined sakes is produced, so you are bound to find something that suits your preference.

FINE TECHNICAL ART ON TEXTILES

Arimatsu-shibori

Arimatsu-shibori is mainly produced in the Arimatsu area of Nagoya City, and is a kind of dyeing. The technique of creating patterns by tying up parts of a piece of cloth so as not to let the dye soak into them is called "shiborizome" (literally, "tie-dyeing"), and has been designated as one of the nation's traditional handicrafts. Representative of the craft are items made by dying cotton fabric with indigo, and when it comes to patterns, Arimatsu has a wide range of techniques you will not see in any other region.

Image

CERAMICS AND OTHERS

Image

Image

Tokoname Ware
Tokoname ware means pottery from Aichi Prefecture's Chita Peninsula, of which Tokoname City and the surrounding area form a part. Tokoname is characterized by being near ports, having good quality clay and an abundant supply of fuel, and has been one of Japan's foremost areas for the production of pottery since ancient times. While representative Tokoname ware products are beautiful orange teapots made from a vermilion clay called "shudei", now, young pottery craftspeople are creating new pieces which add modern sensibilities while carrying on the tradition.

Image

Seto Ware
Pottery produced in and around Seto City is called Seto ware ("Seto-yaki" in Japanese). Seto is one of the so-called "Six Ancient Kilns" of Japan, and the pieces made there came to be distributed all over the country, so much so that pottery has been called "Seto-mono" (literally, "things from Seto") since ancient times. Pottery change over time more than porcelain. Hard stoneware becomes more lustrous the more you use it, and glazed pottery assume a refined, tranquil expression. You will enjoy pottery all the more if you use them like you were nurturing them.

Image

Owari Shippo
Shippo is a cloisonne enamel ware which involves applying colorful, glassy glaze to the surface of metal and firing it. Shippo means "seven treasures", and shippo ware gets its name from the idea of "things as beautiful as though they were inlaid with the seven treasures" found in Buddhist scripture. Many pieces have designs that treat themes such as beautiful scenery found in nature, and the "yusen shippo" technique of applying copper wire to the parts which form the outlines of those designs is representative of Owari shippo.

Image

Toyohashi Writing Brushes
The defining characteristic of Toyohashi writing brushes is the use of a process called "nerimaze," which involves mixing together the mixed wool raw materials using water. As a result of this process, the brushes readily take up the ink, and feel like they are sliding across the paper when you write with them. The whole process is carried out by hand by craftsmen, and besides of course providing a superior writing experience, Toyohashi writing brushes last more than twice as long as regular brushes, and are highly endorsed by calligraphers.

Image

Uiro
Uiro is a kind of Japanese steamed confectionery that is made by kneading together and then steaming rice flour and sugar. Nagoya uiro got catapulted to fame by being sold at stations, on train platforms and so on. Because it uses rice flour made from nonglutinous rice as its raw material, it is characterized by a refined rice flavor and a chewy texture.

Image

Nishio Matcha
Matcha (powdered green tea) from Nishio City, which boasts one of the top production volumes in Japan. The history of Nishio tea begins with the sowing of tea seeds within the precincts of temples. At the time, tea was a noble drink beloved of monks and aristocrats, but with the encouragement of tea cultivation, production of tea spread throughout Nishio. The area is now well-known throughout Japan as a place where matcha is produced, and a unique matcha culture is blooming there. A wide variety of sweets that are made using matcha have also been developed in Nishio.

Image

Moriguchizuke
Moriguchizuke are pickles made by pickling in sake lees and so on for about three years. The raw material, Moriguchi daikon, is a long, thin Aichi radish that can grow to as much as 2 meters in length. The pickles are characterized by a refined, deep flavor that retains the flavor of the sake lees. Their crunchy texture is another secret to their popularity.

Image

Toyohashi Chikuwa
Chikuwa is a paste product made by wrapping minced fish around sticks of bamboo and the like and baking it. When the skewer is taken out you are left with a tube, and the name comes from the fact that it looks like cut bamboo. Hairtail, lizardfish, pike conger and other fish caught in Mikawa Bay go into the raw materials for Toyohashi chikuwa. It is used in oden, stews and a wide variety of other dishes.

Image

Ebi Senbei
Ebi senbei is a traditional processed seafood in which minced shrimp (ebi) is mixed with starch and baked in a mold. The Chita and Mikawa regions, where akazaebi ("Japanese lobster") can be caught, are famous centers of ebi sembei production. There are inexpensive machine-baked products, and also hand-baked products with generous amounts of shrimp caught on the day.

Image

Nagoya Sensu Hand Fans
Once symbols of power, the Nagoya Sensu hand fans were brought from Kyoto by Kanzo Inoue and his son in the mid-18th century. For over 300 years, this craft saw shoguns rise and fall, and adorned hands of powerful men who would make sure to always carry his sensu, for it was considered a swordsman’s “second blade”. Hence the nature of Nagoya’s variation: whereas Kyoto ones are delicate and more akin to purely decorative items, the Nagoya Sensu did not detach from its practical purpose, being preferred by men for its sturdiness and manly appeal. This, however, did not affect the meticulous manufacture process, and thus quality remained the same: each fan still requires 5 artisans, one for each fabrication step: frame, paper, painting, folding and finishing. At the Nagoya factory, those specialists keep on making the ultimate hand fans.

Page Top