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The Azumino Wasabi Farm

The Azumino Wasabi Farm

I love wasabi! You must remember the french movie “Wasabi” (with the cutie Hirosue Ryoko!) in which we see in a scene actor Jean Reno gobble some wasabi paste with his big fingers!? Well, it’s same thing with me: I gobble it straight; however (we must specify) with much finesse and necessarily with chopsticks. Ah, I didn’t even know what a wasabi root looked like before living in Japan…

Japanese Alps Azumino
The Japanese Alps from Azumino.

Obviously, when in Japan, we see wasabi everywhere in the supermarkets, street markets and even in some restaurants where we can shred it ourselves. But… the wasabi farming? No idea!

We are now in Azumino, right in the middle of the Japanese Alps. A wonderful area for many reasons…

Azumino Fisherman
The Azumino Fisherman.

… one of which is its well-reknown wasabi farm! It’s the Daiō Wasabi Farm, a one family farm which exist since 1915. You’ve never seen a wasabi? Well, here is a statue of one. You are now introduced.

Wasabi Statue
Wasabi statue.

The wasabi farming seen to be a very difficult one and each farm has its own ancestral ways and secrets. Yet there is a common element: a fresh water current ( courtesy of the surrounding mountains ). In the picture below, we see some stretched black nets which protect the plants from the sun.

Wasabi Fields
Wasabi fields.

Those plants still looks really small… And a wasabi must reach 2 to 3 years before being edible! With the demand, the prices and the strong currency… those problems in Japan, we know, so more and more restaurants nowadays get their supply from China or Taiwan. The wasabi is transported from these countries and sold as dental paste. Yes, that’s what we usually find in France, and many other countries. This one is way less tasty and is scorches more your eyes.

Little Wasabis
Little wasabis…

We go in and around the farm like in a park : it’s beautiful, there are some paths everywhere, benches, we can relax and enjoy this sunny day.

Wasabi Wasabi
Wasabi, Wasabi!

Once you’re rolled out of these wasabi highways, you can then try the wasabi beer, the wasabi cakes, the wasabi ice cream, the wasabi croquettes, the wasabi lemonade, the wasabi sushi, buy some omiyage for your friends and workmates and then, when you’ve really had it… there is a nice spot to relax, fortunately!

Wasabi Highway
The Wasabi Highway.

Actually, this trip wasn’t really for the wasabi farm but for this actual spot…

Peaceful River Nagano
Peaceful river of Nagano.

It’s a magically-coloured stream strewn with water mills. Moreover, it’s clearly paradise for your ears. Listen:

The spot is marvellous: the birds, the sound of the water and the squealing mills… and from time to time, a damn mosquito.

Azumino Watermill
The nice watermills of Azumino.

This scenery isn’t really the place that doesn’t stand out, and thus is unfortunately not a secret as we would like it to be. In 1990, it was put on screens in the Kurosawa Akira movie “Dreams”, in a part called “The Village of the Watermills”.

Watermill Nagano
Watermill.

We spend a long moment beside those old watermills, listening to them and watching the wild grass waving in the water. This spot is simply a marvel.

Azumino Fields
Azumino fields.

Not far from there is the Kurobe Dam. If you didn’t visit it yet, now’s the time 🙂

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How to go
– 30mn from Matsumoto Station by train + taxi (Google Maps).
– Matsumoto is 3 hours from Tokyo (Google Maps).

Where to stay
– Traditional: Ryokan Sugimoto
– Budget: Matsumoto Tokyu Inn

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  • Kelvin

    Some amazing shots! Gotta go to Japan one day 🙂

  • Beautiful! I’ve read about wasabi farms, but never been to oneーand the texts didn’t have as beautiful photos as you had of course! I love the “wasabi highways”. 🙂 Will have to make my way out there one day. ^^

    • Thank you ^^ Yes, maybe we should plan it and go with a few friends! There are so many nice things to see around this place too…

      • That sounds like a great idea! Maybe once it’s a wee bit warmer. 😉

  • Mahabubur Rahman Shopon

    you are best photographer in the world……i love very much photography….can you i have your photography assistant???

    • Thank you ^^ But I am just a normal photographer 🙂 Do you live in Japan?

      • Mahabubur Rahman Shopon

        really you are so professional photographer….are you have facebook id?no i am not in japan….but…….when i am child 6/7 years old that time i seen one tv program sowing JAPAN beautiful city…i don’t know which city they are sowing…
        from that time to until now i love very much JAPAN…..but so many times i
        try to going JAPAN but always i am failure,three times i give money to
        agent but they are cheating me.steel i hope one day before my dead i am going my dream country JAPAN ………

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Who Am I

azalea, drone, flower, japan, japanese, kyushu, natural, nature, saga, spring

I am Jordy Meow, I am a French photographer living in Japan. My interest is to discover and share information about offbeat and lesser known locations for foreigners coming or living in Japan. I published books and now preparing new beautiful series of guidebooks.

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