Scenery Where Rich Japan is Created:Yama-no-Gakko|美しい日本が生まれる風景:山の楽校

Umami that rinses heart, sumashi “Yama-no-Gakko” at Hachinohe, Aomori



Drip, drip….  Liquid dripped from the white hanging bag.  I sighed as soon as I licked the amber liquid.  This has a deep flavor.  There is no roughness comes from salty soy sauce.

This is “sumashi.”  It is a seasoning which has been valued long time ago in this area when soy sauce was rare and not mass-produced.  But with the popularity of soy sauce, sumashi has been forgotten and not been made for more than half century.

“Yama-no-Gakko,”an experience-exchange facility at Shimamori, Nango of Hanchinohe city is the group which revived and offered this.  The facility has opened in 2005 using the closed down Masuda Elementary and Junior High Schools, but they did not know what to do in the beginning.  Remembered that soba was famous, they thought of offering soba-making experience with the help of senior clubs in the neighborhood.  But all hesitated saying, “Teaching? No way.” But after begging, gradually they started to enjoy teaching and felt more confidence and visitors increased as well.

Next attempt was “field burning” and “sumashi.” Mr. Hirofumi Endate who is in charge of the facility struggled to revive local traditional food culture which has been forgotten.  Nobody could make now.  They have listened to old residents, repeated trial-and-error, and finally succeeded.

Mix 1:3 ratio of brown-rice miso and black-soybean miso, dilute into double quantity of hot water. After that, put it in the cloth bag, and drip with its own weight.  Then, you see the extract of soy sauce color, not the brown color of miso soup, dripping down. 

Dilute this with dried shiitake mushroom and iriko (dried small sardine) soup stock and mix with soup boiled with carrot and burdock and make soup for hot soba.   This is a “sumashi soba.” One and only “sumashi soba” has the full of warmth, and I sighed as I tasted the soup.  I think it makes my body warmer than soy-sauce base hot soba.  Here the umami does not come out too strong but cares about soba.  That kind of taste.

When I think about it, I want to eat so bad.  It is called “sumashi” because it is sumashita (distilled) miso.  There is “clarity” in this umami which rinses one’s heart compared to excessive umami taste of nowadays.

Column|Japanese Festival|Hachinohe Sansha Taisai Festival

 “This is the festival where everybody becomes hero -- from elementary school students to grandfathers,” said the leader of Kajimachi at Hachinohe Sansha Taisai Festival proudly.

Hachinohe Sansha Taisai Festival (UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage “Yama, Hoko, Yatai, float festivals”) which starts from 31st of July, has history of nearly 300 years.  Started as the festival to give prayers for a good harvest when Hachinohe was frequently damaged by cold weather with cool wind called “Yamase,” its decorative floats became bigger and more decorative year after year. Unlike Kyoto Gion Festival, the floats are recreated every year.  No professional doll makers are involved, but amateurs design and craft elaborate floats with full of decorations and compete among neighborhood teams.

Therefore, toughness is beyond the imagination. People concentrate on making floats for months facing the fund-raising problem and spare time for construction.  It is not only floats.  Children who play drums and flutes practice every day.  Mothers sew kimonos for dolls and be busy preparing meals outdoors on the day.

From parents to children, and to siblings.  Festivals which are handed down from generation is valuable.  While many Japanese festivals become more touristic and professional, Sansha Taisai Festival is handmade festival by amateurs with dignity.  That reaches heart of audience.

Hachinohe Sansha Taisai 2018

July 31〜August 4, 2018








コラム|八戸の夏を彩る一大イベント |八戸三社大祭


  7月31日から行われる八戸三社大祭(ユネスコ無形文化遺産「山・鉾・屋台行事」)は、約300年続いている。 “やませ”という冷たい風によって冷害が多発した八戸の、豊作を祈る祭りとして始まり、年々山車が大きく、豪勢になっていった。京都の祇園祭などとは違い、山車は毎年作り変える。人形師などのプロは入らず、素人が凝った造作を満載した山車を作り、町内ごとに競い合う。







文・マッキー牧元(タベアルキスト) 写真・安野敦洋


WRITER マッキー牧元

1955年東京出身。㈱味の手帖 取締役編集顧問 タベアルキスト。日本国内、海外を、年間600食ほど食べ歩き、雑誌、テレビなどで食情報を発信。「味の手帖」「朝日新聞WEB」「料理王国」「食楽」他連載多数。三越日本橋街大学講師、日本鍋奉行協会顧問。最新刊は「出世酒場」集英社刊。

Yama-no-Gakko/ 山の楽校

6-2 Nango Ooaza Shimamorijikitanohata, Hachinohe City, Aomori/ 青森県八戸市南郷大字島守字北ノ畑6-2

更新: 2018年7月25日