Kakunodate Fuyu-Gatari makes your daytrip even more unforgettable! This 30-minute storytelling session at an authentic samurai house sitting around antiquities can take you on a time-traveling experience!
The storytelling session, Kakunodate Fuyu-Gatari, has been held every weekend twice a day from 11:30 and 13:30. It has been a popular tourist activity so that almost all the sessions are fully occupied.
Last weekend, as JR offered a promotion package deal, Kakunodate Town was crowded with tourists coming from all over Japan. Both morning and afternoon sessions easily exceeded the 25-people limit! The organizers crammed in a few more “zabuton,” seating cushions, so that the people sat side-by-side warmly, albeit packed like sardines as we say in sushizume (sushi-packed) condition!
|The Iwahashi Residence (岩橋家）|
Story Unfolds – from Lifestyle, Food, and the History of Kakunodate Town
The story is told by a certified historical guide. On this day, the teller was Mr. Tamura, vice president of the guide union. As we gathered in a small room at the Iwahashi Residence, the guide unfolded stories from how the life style is like in the deep north during the coldest time of the year.
“These things,” pointing at the hanging rice crackers and radishes on the back, “are the very blessings of our severe winter. Although the heavy snow may seem overwhelming and to give us nothing but a trouble, we actually are not always bothered and fed up with the long winter,” continued Mr. Tamura.
“Over the generations, the severe winter has nurtured a unique tradition of our food culture. Say, these dried rice crackers are called hoshimochi and are still popular today. The natural sweetness is addictive! And, daikon radishes are dried like this and were later smoked to be made into our famous Iburigakko. If it weren’t for the severe winter, we wouldn’t have had this profound tradition.”
Then, Mr. Tamura stressed that each family inherits a secret recipe for such pickled vegetables – the ratio of sugar and rice bran along with the temperature and humidity condition greatly contribute to the unique taste. “Today, we would like you to try the Iburigakko of the Iwahashi family and see if you like it.”
|Dried Radish and mochi (left top), Mr.Tamura explaining an snow related tool (right top),|
Iburigakko (left bottom), and the certificate.
A Brief History of Kakunodate Town from the Ashina to Satake-Kita Family
Mr. Tamura continued on and told us the history of Kakunodate Town – dating back to the original settlement by the Ashina family and their close connection with the great lord, Toyotomi Hideyoshi.