DIRECT BUS SERVICE

Article themes

article archives

August 2017
Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa Su
31 1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30 31 1 2 3
Written by: Sjaak Mintjens
Date: 2013/06/03

Opposites sure go well together

 Tsuyu, the rainy season, is one of the seasons in Japan that can be fun, if you like a lot rain. However, here in Matsumoto, you will still find plenty of days with great weather. Thanks to all the lovely mountains surrounding the area, the rain has only a small chance to fall down on you during your stay, however keep in mind that when it rains, it really pours down. Still, thanks to this, I was able to enjoy a lovely day outside in one of the most calming places around: the Daiõ Wasabi Farm.

 

 

A lot of wasabi

 The Daiõ Wasabi Farm, next to Matsumoto in Azumino near a little town called Hotaka, and is the biggest wasabi farm in all of Japan and provides about 6% of Japan’s wasabi. And even though it provides quite a big portion of all the wasabi for Japan, next to selling goods at the farm, it only sells directly to its clients to bring the best of goods straight to where they need to be. If you have never seen a wasabi farm, the Daiõ Wasabi Farm would be a great place to visit. And if you already have seen a wasabi farm, I would still advice you to go.

 

A relaxing trip

 Before getting to the farm you will need to take the train from Matsumoto to Hotaka which is a nice trip through the country side and through some local towns. After reaching Hotaka you will want to rent a bike. You could go by taxi, but I tell you that you will want to rent a bike. There are two or three bike rentals there with the same prices and I personally like the one that is located when you get out of the station straight ahead and at the traffic lights directly on your right. It is a small place, with very friendly staff. You get your bike and a map (for free) and you head towards the farm. It is a 10 to 20 minute ride, but once you hit the farm lands you will understand why you wanted a bike. Beautiful lushes green rice fields (depending on which time of the year of course), beautiful mountains behind you and in front of you, truly a relaxing ride to enjoy. Just remember to check where you parked your bike when arriving at the farm. It is easy to lose your bike among all the other ones as they are often the same. People with a high saddle have a easy time however, seeing as it will stick out above any other bike.

 

Opposites sure go well together

 Wasabi is on a lot of areas our opposite, but we sure go well together. Saying that we are opposites I do not mean simply that we are humans and wasabi is a plant. The wasabi plant is quite an interesting plant. Where as for example people get, in general, full of energy when there is a sunny weather outside, wasabi plants actually become less energetic under sunny conditions, due to them originally being mountain vegetation where they were being protected by the trees. When wasabi plants are hit with sunlight, their leaves actually weaken and get sloppy compared to when grown under a shade. So where do we go well together? It is the soothing environment that the spring water gives that is needed for the wasabi to grow, and of course the great addition of taste in many dishes and products. Wasabi products such as the Japanese “tsuke-mono” which are pickled vegetables, and their own “wasabi-tsuke”, pickled wasabi, of which there is also a 20 minutes workshop in which you can participate and where you can take home/back to where you stay what you made. But, it wouldn’t be Japan if it stopped there, besides the Japanese traditional products you can also find numerous foods and drinks you might not expect.

 

 

 

 

 

Wasabi + Something = A good meal

 People that have been to Japan before know that Japanese tend to make just about anything with a local product. Like the Matcha (green tea) Kit Kat, which is a favorite among many foreigners as well as many other products, there are of course also a lot of wasabi products at the Daiõ Wasabi Farm. I tried a few things, and I wasn’t disappointed. First off the wasabi soft (ice cream), is a wasabi flavored soft serve ice cream which I have had before in a different location. At that time I was not impressed, I had this nice sweet ice cream with a strange tingling afterwards, which seemed to be out of place. However, the ice cream I had at the farm was actually very refreshing and very nice. So if you want to try out the wasabi soft, hold out till you get to the farm! The other thing I had was a wasabi beer, of which the only thing I regretted was not to have drunk together with an iwana (small fried fish). The beer itself seemed like a pretty normal beer, besides for its greenish color as if it came straight out of Shrek. But, it probably was a more healthy beer though thanks to the vitamin C of the wasabi. In fact, all the wasabi products I have had so far at the farm, including previous visits, like the wasabi hotdog, wasabi curry, wasabi croquette burger and wasabi-tsuke have all been really good.

 

It doesn’t end there!

 There are plenty of things to do at the farm and outside the farm. The farm itself also holds a boat ride, where you can rent a rubber boat with a transparent bottom through which you can look through the clear spring water into the river and even see underwater flowers. It costs a few hundred yen, but you surely will regret not going. There are watermills placed there by the movie director Akira Kurasawa for the movie “Dreams”. As well asoutside the farm there are plenty of places to visit, like handcraft stores, artmuseums, and even more calming nature and bike routes. 

 All in all, a trip to the Daiõ Wasabi Farm is one you will not regret and definitely should try to go for half a day or maybe even a whole day if you also want to check out the surroundings. With all the healthy foods and small activities, it will surely be one of the more healthy days during your stay in Japan.

 

Access

You can access the Wasabi Farm by taking the Kamikôchi line up to Hotaka from Matsumoto. From here you can rent a bike or take a taxi from the station up to the farm. As written in the article, it is recommended to take a bike, not only is it a relaxing ride but it will also save you some more money and give you more freedom. You will get a map for free at the bike rental, and they will gladly explain to you the area even more!

 

Daio Wasabi Farm
3640 Hotaka, Azumino

Official website: http://www.daiowasabi.co.jp
(Japanese only)