fbpx Skip to main content

The other day I visited Utogi up the Abe River in Shizuoka City in the company of Alexandra Comde, a French journalist who works in France and Dominique Corby (Chef and owner of French Kappo Dominique Corby), a great Restauarnt in Tokyo, to interview Yuuma Mochizuki, a local wasabi farmer.

Soba, Wasabi Leaf Tempura, Utsurogi, shizuoka

We spent the whole morning shooting pictures of the wasabi fields owned by Maru Ichi Co., whose Yuma Mochizuki (30) is the 13th generation. All the fields are exclusively watered with the help of torrents rushing down the mountain, meaning an ecological and organic cultivation.

Soba, Wasabi Leaf Tempura, Utsurogi, shizuoka

Wasabi fields as far as the eye can see! Although some of the fields are as old as 400 years, they are still protected by their original stone walls!

Soba, Wasabi Leaf Tempura, Utsurogi, shizuoka

It is the best season to admire them for one important detail, can you guess?

Soba, Wasabi Leaf Tempura, Utsurogi, shizuoka

Wasabi Flowers! Did you know that the leaves and the flowers of the wasabi are even more beneficial to the human body than the wasabi roots? You can eat them either fresh, with miso, pickled or fired and in tempura. Absolutely succulent!

Soba, Wasabi Leaf Tempura, Utsurogi, shizuoka

Dominique Corby, Alexandra Combe and Yuma Mochizuki tasting some of the wasabi that was elected the best in Japan last year for the second time in three years! Note the traditional shark skin grater!

Soba, Wasabi Leaf Tempura, Utsurogi, shizuoka

The monument stating Utogi as the birthplace of wasabi cultivation.

We decided to have lunch at the only, but famous, local restaurant before proceeding with the rest of the interview.

Soba, Wasabi Leaf Tempura, Utsurogi, shizuoka

Utsurogi, a rustic but very busy restaurant. Tiny and quaint, but so authentic!

Soba, Wasabi Leaf Tempura, Utsurogi, shizuoka

You place your orders to a kitchen-like counter. Don’t worry if you don’t speak Japanese, the staff are used to all kinds of tourists and they will manage to get their message through!

Soba, Wasabi Leaf Tempura, Utsurogi, shizuoka

Have a good look at the local products on sale! Either fresh or processed, they make for very original souvenirs.

Soba, Wasabi Leaf Tempura, Utsurogi, shizuoka

Having ordered your meal beforehand, walk along the rushing torrent and choose a seat either outside or inside. You’ll see wasabi fields under their vinyl protection right across the torrents.

Soba, Wasabi Leaf Tempura, Utsurogi, shizuoka

Great scenery to be seen here and a tiny Japanese garden!

Soba, Wasabi Leaf Tempura, Utsurogi, shizuoka

This is the lunch we had ordered from the front of shop, where they hang photos of all the meals available.  At 800 yen, less than 8 Us $, less than 6 Euros, its a true bargain! And so fresh and authentic.

Soba, Wasabi Leaf Tempura, Utsurogi, shizuoka

Our lunch, can you figure out what we had?

Soba, Wasabi Leaf Tempura, Utsurogi, shizuoka

The excellent “8 wari”/80% buckwheat flour soba/buckwheat noodles! They are boiled and then washed in cold clean natural water before being served with different seasonings.

Soba, Wasabi Leaf Tempura, Utsurogi, shizuoka

Local Utogi-grown wasabi stem pickles, freshly grated wasabi and chopped scallions with your soba dressing/dip! You will not find such fresh wasabi products anywhere else in Shizuoka Prefecture!

Soba, Wasabi Leaf Tempura, Utsurogi, shizuoka

The tempura, including sweet potato, onion and carrot “kakiage”/mixed tempura, shiitake and wasabi leaf!

Soba, Wasabi Leaf Tempura, Utsurogi, shizuoka

The fresh wasabi leaf from a nearby field! You will not find that quality and freshness anywhere else.
Note the local matcha tea powder for tempura seasoning. The local wasabi farmers also grow superb green tea.

The ultimate trip to discover wasabi!

    
Name Utsurogi (うつろぎ)
Category Food/Activity
Address 421-2303 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Utogi, 280-1
Access [map]421-2303 Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Utogi, 280-1[/map]
Opening Hours 10:00~15:00, 09:00~16:00 on weekends and National Holidays
Price Range 〜 1000 yen
Payment options Cash
Robert-Gilles Martineau

Robert-Gilles Martineau

Robert-Gilles Martineau, a 40-year French resident in Shizuoka and japan has been blogging and writing about his love for Japanese gastronomy and tourism in three languages since 1998. His motto: "There is always a new place to visit and a new food to taste out there!"

Leave a Reply


X