Murakami: City of Salmon and Sake
Murakami, in Niigata Prefecture, northwestern Japan, has a long history of catching and processing salmon from the Miomote River that runs through the city. Over the centuries, the area has developed many customs and traditions, as well as numerous recipes for preparing the fish.
On this episode of Journeys in Japan, George Bourdaniotis watches salmon being caught by the local fishermen. He visits a workshop where the fish are preserved by wind-drying in the traditional way, and he samples a wide range of local delicacies prepared using salmon. George also visits a sake brewery and observes the way it is prepared, using rice grown locally and water from the source of the Miomote River. These local products, which are still produced in the traditional way, give an introduction to "washoku", Japan's traditional cuisine, which was recently registered by UNESCO as a World Intangible Cultural Heritage.
Rokusai Farmers Market
The Rokusai Farmers Market is an open-air market featuring around 130 stalls located along a 400-meter stretch of road, close to the Murakami city office.
It is held on the 2nd, 7th, 12th, 17th, 22nd and 27th of each month. Please note: the market is only open during the morning.
Kikkawa is a specialist workshop in Omachi Town, Murakami City, which prepares shiobikijake (wind-dried salmon) in the traditional way. In winter visitors can watch the salmon being processed. Throughout the year, the fish can be seen hanging to dry from the ceiling.
Yoshigen is a long-established Japanese restaurant based in Teramachi Town, Murakami City. It offers special banquets featuring salmon (from 5,000 yen per person).
Advanced reservations required.
Kuwagawa lies on the Sea of Japan coast, just to the north of Murakami. It has a superb natural environment with panoramic views of ocean from right by the railway station. Close to the station is a popular sightseeing spot, called "Sasagawa Nagare", an 11-kilometer stretch of coast lined with strange-shaped rock formations.
Kuwagawa Station is 3 stops from Murakami on the Uetsu-Honsen Line (heading toward Akita Prefecture).
This sake brewery is located in the Iino area of Murakami City. It has a showroom called "Nagomi Gura", where visitors can also taste various styles of sake.
Open: 9-12 a.m. and 1-4 p.m.
This Japanese restaurant in Komachi Town, Murakami City, offers traditional local dishes featuring salmon, including iizushi and sakabitashi, which were sampled by George Bourdaniotis in the program. Both dishes are only available as part of a multi-course meal.
From October to December, a special seasonal salmon banquet is served (from 3,150 yen per person).
Advanced reservations required. Closed on Thursdays.
This long-established traditional confectioner in Omachi Town, Murakami City, sells rakugan cake made to resemble a fillet of salmon.
Closed on Sundays.
Information about Murakami
For general information about Murakami City, Niigata Prefecture, please access the URL below. PDF files are available in English, Korean, Chinese and Taiwanese.
Niigata Airport is the closest to Murakami City. It is served by both domestic and international flights from Seoul (Incheon), Shanghai (Pudong), Harbin, Guam and Taipei.
From Tokyo, it takes about 3 hours to Murakami via Shinkansen bullet train to Niigata, and then by local train.
Date :Dec.1-4, 2013