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  • Alex Gillam

Wakayama, a Taste of Japanese History

Located south of Osaka, the Wakayama prefecture has a gastronomic legacy that rivals any other city in Japan, and one that remains as strong today as it was a thousand years ago; the prefecture’s vast mountain ranges and jaw-dropping coastline served as the perfect environment for Wakayama’s farmers to cultivate an array of fruits, spices, seaweed and seafood to create some of the country’s most famous dishes.

Some of Wakayama’s most notable achievements include:

  • Serving as the birthplace of soy sauce after a local monk brought back Kinzanji miso from China; after experimenting with the excess water during the fermentation process, soy sauce (as well as one of the most significant parts of Japanese cuisine) was born and rapidly spread throughout the country.

  • Being Japan’s number one producer of Ume, a distinctive sour fruit

  • Being voted the home of Japan’s most delicious ramen, Chuka Soba. Unlike most of the noodle shops found in the country, Wakayama’s take on ramen uses a rich pork bone and soy sauce broth that is as savory as it is satisfying.

  • Wakayama is also the birthplace of Mazuma Wasabi, one of the finest (and rarest) wasabi available in Japan, as well as Bonito Flakes, which are key for making Japanese stock.

  • The original form of sushi, Narezushi, was also born in Wakayama. Unlike modern rolls, this 10th Century dish consists of fermented fish pressed together with rice balls, resulting in a dish that tastes and smells worlds apart from the sushi rolls we know today.

Whether you make the journey to explore an essential part of Japanese history or simply to indulge in the flavors calling out to your stomach, the Wakayama region is sure to not disappoint.

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