An Old Japanese-style House in Katsuyama, the Warmth of Being Homemade
In Heisenji, located in the valleys of Heisenji-cho within Fukui Prefecture’s Katsuyama City, kakimochi (“dried rice cake”) is heading towards its peak production period; kakimochi is considered to be a preserved food associated with winter. At an old Japanese-style house, where the kakimochi is produced, kakimochi of five different colours have been hung across the workshop, like a bamboo screen, adding a touch of colour to go with the intense cold being experienced by the community.
Kakimochi production began from January 4th at “Rokusenbo”, a company created by residents who have taken the task of preserving the traditional flavour. Using local and organically farmed glutinous rice, the mochi uses a variety of ingredients to add colour, such as Japanese mugwort, wild rice, acetes, and tumeric. Including a white kakimochi containing black sesame seeds, this year has a set of five different coloured kakimochi.
The experienced staff would take twenty pieces of mochi, which had been cut into rectangular blocks, and skilfully tie up each bunch with rice straw. Hung along bamboo sticks, the kakimochi overflow with the warmth and appearance resulting from its homemade quality; and after spending two weeks out to dry, the kakimochi is ready to serve.
“Colder temperatures result in higher quality. We hope to continue to preserve this flavour and technique, which has remained unchanged from long ago,” said Rokusenbo representative, Michi Okubo (aged 68). With about one thousand packs, containing five different coloured kakimochi, to be made, it will be sold on January 26th, during Katsuyama’s Year-End Fair. One pack will be ¥750.
The old Japanese-style house will be remodelled, and reopen as a historic site, as well as a tea house this spring.