- Trip Outline
Experience Local Cuisine on the Nakasendo
Make Your Own Hoba-Sushi at a Traditional 200-Year-Old Teahouse
Fitness Level: ★☆☆☆☆
Skill Level: ★☆☆☆☆
Price: 2,500 JPY (4 – 12 people), 3,000 JPY (2 – 3 people)
～The Nakasendo & Nakatsugawa City, Gifu Prefecture ～
The Nakasendo is a 534km long ancient road that connected Kyoto and Tokyo during the Edo period. These days people still walk the old road. In the areas of Nakatsugawa City and the Kiso Valley the Nakasendo is particularly beautiful. Echizenya is a teahouse along the Nakasendo estimated to be around 200 years old. Around 150 years ago the shop closed. But in recent years the proprietress renovated and reopened the place. It now serves coffee and tea in addition to traditional food. They also brought back the family’s signature dish, sanmon-mochi, which is mochi covered in black sugar syrup. In this experience, you can make your own hoba-sushi, a local dish beloved by the locals of Nakatsugawa, with the cheerful, hospitable proprietress herself and try sanmon-mochi for dessert.
The Nakasendo is a 534km long ancient road that connected Kyoto and Tokyo (formerly known as Edo) during the Edo period. Along the road, there were 69 post towns. In the area widely known abroad as the Kiso Valley, hiking between the post towns of Nakatsugawa Juku, Ochiai Juku, Magome Juku and Tsumago Juku have, in recent times, become particularly popular.
Echizenya is an ancient teahouse on the Nakasendo. On foot, it is located about 40 minutes from Nakatsugawa Juku and about 10 minutes from Ochiai Juku. Dating back around 200 years, Echizenya was used during the Edo period as a tateba teahouse (an official teahouse used as a place to rest and exchange goods). The shop didn’t make it and for 150 years it was closed. However, recently the shop has been renovated and reopened. It has a Japanese garden with a suikinkutsu, a musical feature of some Japanese gardens which rings as water drops down on it.
In ancient times, Echizenya’s specialty dish was sanmon-mochi, mochi covered in black sugar syrup. Black sugar was very rare during the Edo period and, at that time, the snack sold very well and became extremely popular. Three local women including the proprietress herself, Megumi Tsukada, have brought back sanmon-mochi from the dead, finding clues about the snack from ancient texts.
This cooking experience takes place at Echizenya. You will make hoba-sushi, a local dish beloved in the city of Nakatsugawa. Flavored sushi rice with various toppings is wrapped in a hoba (the leaf of a Japanese magnolia tree known as a ho-no-ki). The leaf not only keeps the food fresh, but the flavor of the leaf infuses with the ingredients inside making a delicious lunch for farmers or people working outside. Toppings include items such as salmon, shiitake, egg, pickled ginger, tofu, and more. Vegan options are available. For dessert, you can enjoy sanmon-mochi which is included in the experience.
The cheerful and hospitable proprietress, Megumi Tsukada loves welcoming foreign visitors into her shop and is a die-hard fan of The Beatles. Come and join this community-based activity and make and eat local food as you take a break on the Nakasendo.
■Number of participants（Min./Max.）
About 1 hour
■What is included
・Tour of the premises (including Japanese garden)
・Hoba-sushi (2 per person)
・Sanmon-mochi (3 per person)
＊Vegan option available (please request when making the reservation)
＊Hoba-sushi will be made with local ingredients as much as possible.
＊Private rooms are available (please inquire about this when making your reservation)
■What is NOT included
・Transportation to/from the venue
・Guide/interpreter (if further English assistance is required it must be arranged separately)
＊The host of this experience happily communicates in slightly broken English
・Please inquire in advance about allergies/dietary requirements
・Available anytime from May to September (advanced reservations required)
＊This experience is also available year-round. However, the ho-no-ki tree leaves required to make hoba-sushi are freshest from May to September. Please inquire for bookings outside of this period.
・Experience local cuisine with locals at a 200-year-old tea house of the Nakasendo.
・Ideally located for hikers on the Nakasendo (40 minutes walk from Nakatsugawa Juku and 10 minutes walk from Ochiai Juku.
・Your host is a friendly, fun-loving fan of The Beatles, who loves welcoming foreign visitors.
・Guests can enjoy a tour of the tea house’s Japanese garden, with its suikinkutsu, a musical device of Japanese gardens used before tea ceremonies.