Can this Asian tourist find a palate satisfying “Japanese country-style food” souvenir at Mt. Fuji's tourist spot “Oshinohakkai?”
Oshinohakkai is a tourist attraction of Mt. Fuji. They are eight ponds of Oshino Village, not eight oceans. Not only is Oshinohakkai a national treasure, it is a part of Mt. Fuji as a World Heritage Site. It is a must-go if you plan to tour Yamanashi Prefecture's Mt. Fuji. Today, I'm going to show you some shops in Oshinohakkai.
Have you ever heard of the word “Oshino Fuji?” You can see a beautiful view of Mt. Fuji from Oshinohakkai. You will find Japanese-style houses and a water mill, making the view even more picturesque. Let's take a walk around the ponds, shall we?
What kind of shop is this near Oshinohakkai?
After walking a bit, I'm smelled something fragrant. As I go inside the shop, I saw the words “Meibutsu Kusamochi (a specialty, dumpling mixed with mugwort).” I wonder if they come in a variety. Let's look around.
Seems like there are many tourists from abroad. I saw salesclerks in pink aprons. There seems to be two or three of them who can speak Chinese, too.
In the shop, they had Mt. Fuji souvenirs, cookies and chocolate, but what grabbed my attention was the tsukemono (Japanese pickles). I was able to try out many of them. This one in the picture is a spicy hot daikon (radish) tsukemono. By the way, a popular kind among tourists from overseas is said to be cloud ear mushroom tsukemono. Others you can try are tsukemono of Shitake mushroom, bamboo shoots, and more.
I liked the hot spicy bamboo shoots, and also the shitake mushrooms that I was sure would go great with rice. They have a variety of tastes such as spicy, somewhat sour, and salted and sweetened tastes, so I would recommend that you try them until you find your favorite one.
I found something interesting in the shop. It's named “Choju no Izumi (spring of longevity),” which is spring water from Mt. Fuji. I heard that the kusamochi and tofu sold in the store were made using this spring water from Mt. Fuji. That sounds like they're pretty special.
To those of you from abroad, if you're going to Oshinohakkai / Yamanaka-ko Lake, I recommend “Inden” a product Yamamashi is proud of!
When we went further inside, there were some small containers and wallets. Seems like geometric designs are the basics, but personally, I thought the coin purse with a pattern of Mt. Fuji and cherry blossoms was cute. This is called “Inden,” a traditional crafted product of Yamanashi that is so famous that you will see one of them at least once when you are in Yamanashi Prefecture to go sightseeing in the Mt. Fuji area. These products that Yamanashi is proud of are actually made from deer skin patterned with lacquer. They are durable and lightweight, and it is said that long ago, they were used in battle-gear. They have been making these traditional crafted products for the past 400 years, and to this day, each one is carefully hand-made, so they are somewhat expensive, but they are characteristic for becoming comfortable to the touch as you use them longer. In this shop, credit cards are welcome if you buy a total of 2,000 yen or more.
Japanese country-style food was made here in Oshinohakkai! “Meibutsu Kusamochi”
In the very back of the shop, there were kusamochi! They told us that they make 500 of these every morning, and bake them in the shop. Now, I was feeling hungry.
They were so shiny and looked really good. Some were wrapped so that we can take them home, but most of the people seemed to be eating them while walking. We had ours baked right away.
When we were handed the perfectly toasted kusamochi they were still very hot. The green is beautiful. They look small, but they actually make you full. The sweetness of the coarse sweet red bean paste and the fragrant kusamochi go well together. Though the temperature was cold, we got warm eating them. The reason the fragrance of the Yomogi (mugwort) was strong, was because they mix two kinds of Yomogi. They do make you full, but if you are really hungry, you may need to have two.
Mt. Fuji's spring water, Oshinohakkai
When we went outside, we found “Oshinohakkai Kaminomizu (god's water),” which had been selected as one of “100 most remarkable waters in Japan.” They may be the dragon lords that are said to be protecting the Oshinohakkai. I saw many people pouring the water in plastic bottles to take home. You can buy plastic bottles here, too.
Oshinohakkai is made of eight ponds of spring water from the underground water that flowed in from Mt. Fuji. The spring water that was filtered during several decades is extremely transparent, and you can clearly see the bottom the ponds. The small, deep ponds have a mystical atmosphere. Since there were a lot of people around me, I didn't have this feeling, but if I were to be alone here, I'd probably feel like I was about to be sucked into the pond, which is a bit of a scary feeling.
If you look into the clear nearby pond, you can enjoy looking at carps of various colors swimming.
I went home and ate the bamboo shoot tsukemono with rice. It was spicy, but I ate a lot of rice. The cloud ear mushroom tsukemono we found in the back of the shop was good, too. But don't eat too many. Be careful not to take too much salt.
Eating deliciously the carefully made tsukemono and famous kusamochi in the traditional way is definitely the “Japanese country-style food.” Even a Chinese like myself felt nostalgic. Perhaps it was because the tastes were simple. My friend who accompanied me told me that the kusamochi she ate in a very Japanese landscape tasted mild and made her feel at ease. I hope you will have the chance to eat them too, someday.
●354, Shibokusa, Oshino-mura, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi Prefecture
●Open: 7:30-18:00 (changes depending on the season)
*The above information was last updated February 23, 2018. Please contact the facilities directly for more information.
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