Travelogue of Mackerel Road *RERUN
Mackerel Road connects Wakasa, which overlooks the Sea of Japan, and Kyoto Prefecture. Wakasa, located in Fukui Prefecture, has a sawtooth-shaped coastline, and is a treasure trove of excellent seafood. The region, known as a land of food, has been offering up its cuisine to the emperor since the 7th century. In the 17th century, the mackerel transported to the capital from Wakasa supported the capital's food culture through dishes like mackerel sushi, an essential part of summer festivals. It's said that by the time the mackerel arrived in Kyoto, it was at just the right level of saltiness. We visit Mackerel Road, which winds through beautiful mountain villages, connects people, and has passed along both culture and customs.

Mackerel as a Preserved Food

Within the mountains Mackerel Road runs through, there are a number of unique preserved foods. "Narezushi" is made by putting rice in the mackerel's stomach and allowing it to ferment. "Heshiko" is a food exclusive to the region, made by letting mackerel sit in salt and rice bran for an entire year. A preserved food for the winter, it releases a fragrance when lightly cooked, and is said to be quite wonderful when placed on top of rice with tea added.

The Mackerel Road Ultramarathon

76 kilometers long, the ultramarathon is held annually. Participants run along Mackerel Road from Obama to Kyoto. The fastest runners finish in 6.5 hours, while the last ones clock in at over 12 hours. As a reward for those who finish, cooked mackerel is given out.

Kyoto Mackerel Cuisine

Because Kyoto is far from the ocean, long ago, people did not eat fresh fish. When salted mackerel began being brought from Obama, numerous mackerel dishes sprung up. One is lightly grilled and fragrant salted mackerel sushi, while another is chopped mackerel glazed with tofu residue.