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Marine products / Handicrafts

Wajima Lacquerware

Renowned around the world as amongst the finest Japanese lacquerware


■Lacquerware made through elaborate artisanship
Wajima lacquerware is highly rated both within Japan and overseas, and has a long history. During the Edo period, merchants travelled throughout the country and the lacquerware became a part of people's everyday lives.
The process of making a piece of Wajima lacquerware involves over 100 operations from wood carving to finishing. The entire process is carried out by hand by artisans. Each item is produced on a division-of-labor basis by specialized artisans, each of whom perform just one operation within the process, such as wood turning or lacquer coating. Wajima lacquerware is created through elaborate artisanship, has beautiful shapes and is robust, due to the reinforcement of fragile parts by applying cloth and several layers of lacquer coating, as has delicate decorations such as maki-e (gold relief) and chinkin (gold inlay).

   

Sake

Sake is brewed from rice, water, and rice malt.
Noto is home to high-quality sake produced by master brewers.


■Noto master brewers make exceptional sake
Japanese sake is said to have a long history, of 2,000 years. The only ingredients are rice, water, and rice malt. This simplicity means that all brands of sake taste different to one another. The original flavor of the rice, along with other factors such as the quality of the water, the climate, and the temperature, brings about chemical reactions that cannot be represented by chemical formulae, thereby creating sake unique to each brewery.
Sake brewery workers are called "kurabito". The manager of such brewery workers, or the master brewer, is called a "touji". Since olden days, in winter, when the natural environment is harsh in Noto, men have gone to sake breweries across the country to live in them. The people of Noto, probably because of the diligent and patient temperament, acquired new skills while working hard with friendly rivalry, and the fame of master brewers of Noto spread throughout the country.
Currently, most of the fifteen sake breweries in Noto are run by such master brewers. Each brewery makes distinctive sake. Finding your favorite bottle is another way of enjoying your trip in Noto.

   

Ishiri

This is a fish sauce made from such seafood as sardines, squid, or mackerel, and is an essential ingredient in traditional Noto cuisine.


■North-Noto-produced fish sauce
Ishiri is a seasoning that has been passed down through generations in North Noto since long ago. This fish sauce, similar to nam pla in Thailand and nuoc mam in Vietnam, is an essential ingredient in traditional dishes. It is also called Ishiru or Yoshiri. The ingredients used, such as squid, sardine, or mackerel vary depending on what is most caught at the port in the area where the fish sauce is produced. Fresh ingredients with salt are matured and fermented in barrels for six months to two years. It seems that up until 200-300 years ago, Ishiri was generally made in each household, but there are few that do so nowadays. However, you will be able to find this commonly-used seasoning at super-markets and grocery stores in Noto.
Ishiri should be diluted with water when used, rather than used straight out of the bottle. It can be used in various ways, such as with sashimi, simmered dishes, and stewed dishes as substitute for soy sauce and other seasonings. Just a little bit added to stir-fries or soups gives a rich flavor.

   

Salt

Salt making is a traditional industry in Noto. The natural salt, made from clean seawater, is rich in minerals, and brings out the flavor of ingredients in food.


■Natural product full of minerals
The beautiful sea of Noto gives people not only seafood, but also salt, which is an essential component in people's diets.  The Agehama-shiki Seien (banked-terrace salt production method) is a traditional method of salt production, which has been practiced for over 400 years in the Suzu area of Noto, and is not carried out anywhere else in Japan. This primitive method of salt production involves solar evaporation of seawater and requires a lot of time and effort. The faint sweetness hidden behind the sharpness is evidence of the fact that the salt contains a lot of naturally-derived minerals, and simple dishes such as grilled fish or rice balls taste clearly different when seasoned with it. The salt enhances the original flavor of ingredients.
 
<Visitors are invited to watch banked-terrace salt production (spring – summer)>
Kakuhana Family (national intangible cultural treasure)
Address: 1-58 Nie-machi, Suzu City, Ishikawa Prefecture
Suzu Salt Farm Village
Address: Aza 12-1, Nie-machi 1, Suzu City, Ishikawa Prefecture

   

Japanese candles

Candles made from vegetable wax extracted from tree nuts


Takazawa Candle Co., Ltd.
Address: 11 Ipponsugi-machi, Nanao City, Ishikawa Prefecture
 
■Eco-friendly candles embodying the wisdom of living
Japanese candles are made from vegetable wax. They are made by winding Japanese paper with a candlewick made from rushes and pouring vegetable wax extracted from nuts of trees such as wax trees and lacquer trees. Melted wax is sucked up through the wick as it burns, so the candle burns completely until the end. Also, the thick wick helps the flame keep burning even if it is blown by the wind. Furthermore, using plant-derived material generates less soot. They are economically and ecologically friendly lights created with time-honored wisdom.
Ishikawa Prefecture used to be a religious region. In particular, there were many temples in the Noto area, which created a high demand for candles. Candles used to be essential items, however, production has declined since then. Takazawa Candle in Nanao City is the only shop in the prefecture that still makes Japanese candles using the traditional method. Items with designs, such as those of seasonal flowers, are also popular as interior decorations.

   

Marine products

Blessed with nature's bounty, the sea around Noto is a treasure chest of seafood
where you can enjoy seasonal delicacies.


■The Noto Peninsula is a natural fishpond.
Jutting out into the Sea of Japan, the Noto Peninsula is located at the point at which the Tsushima Current, travelling northward, converges with the Liman Current, travelling southward. In addition, a number of major rivers pouring into the sea bring plenty of plankton, creating fertile fishing grounds. A wide variety of fish are caught throughout the year. In particular, many people are fans of the meltingly-sweet deep-water shrimp and rich-tasting crab. Seaweeds cast up on the rocks during the cold season are also special products of the area, and these are generally dried to make preserved food. People in Noto regularly cook various seaweed dishes at home. There is also a lot of oyster farming on the peninsula, and Noto oysters have a strong flavor and firm texture, and are available from late November to around February.

   

Yubeshi

A traditional sweet containing citrus fruit


Yubeshi in Noto is called maru-yubeshi, which is a type that contains a whole yuzu (a type of citrus fruit). It is said that it was introduced nationwide by Wajima sellers, and it has now become a typical Wajima traditional sweet.
Although the recipe differs a little from store to store, the basic process involves scooping out a fully-ripened yuzu, stuffing it with sticky rice cake, and repeatedly steaming and air-drying it 20-30 times. It takes about 4-6 months to complete and the sweet can be only manufactured once a year, making yubeshi highly valuable. A finished yubeshi is amber in color, and is eaten thinly sliced, with the peel on. The fragrance of the yuzu and the slightly bitter flavor of the peel make this sweet leave an elegant impression.