March 14, 2010

Farm Tool Market at Ichinomiya Shrine/一宮神社農具市

On Friday, March 12, I went to the festival called Nogu Ichi (Farm Tool Market), held at Ichinomiya Shrine, located here in Ozato, Minami Uonuma city, Niigata. According to the official website, this festival is called Shunki Taisai (Springtime Big Festival).
This festival, held on March 12 every year, dates back to the Edo period. It started as a market of farm tools and other merchandise aimed at visitors to the spring festival held at the shrine. Someone told me that in days of old, there used to be a continuous flow of people from the Shiozawa Station on Joetsu Line to this shrine on this particular day.
The festival is now less popular, but is still loved by many people. It is said in this region that spring will come after this festival ends.
3月12日(金)、新潟県南魚沼市の大里(おおざと)にある一宮神社(いちのみやじんじゃ)で行われた農具市(のうぐいち)に行って来ました。公式サイトによると、 このお祭りは春季大祭と呼ばれています。

I walked to the festival site. While walking, I took some photos like these:
Southeast side:

You can see Mt. Iiji on the right side of the photo, where Centleisure Maiko Snow Resort is located.

Southwest side:

You can see Ishiuchi Maruyama ski resort.
The line of trees at the center of the photo is that of sakura. I'd like to take photos of the sakura when they are in bloom.

Mt. Makihata on the left near the center:

Uono River, which runs through Minami Uonuma city, Mt. Sakado, and Mt. Hakkai:

We still have this much snow on the ground.

I arrived at the site. Kushiyaki and Tenshin amaguri (lit. Chinese sweet chestnut) stalls:

Fruit and vegetable stall and takoyaki stall:

I bought some komatsuna, yama udo, and gobo (described later) from the stall.

Taiyaki and ikayaki (grilled squid) stalls:

Shichimi togarashi stall and another Tenshin amaguri stall:

Other photos to share:

The shrine came in sight.

Here are the items I bought:


Yama udo (Aralia cordata) and gobo (burdock roots)

Yama means mountain, suggesting something wild. I didn't know why cultured udo are sold by the name of yama udo. I did some googling and found that there are things called nanpaku (soft and white) udo, also called, Tokyo udo, which are entirely white because they are cultured in dark places, and that yama udo are made by applying sunlight to nanpaku udo to make them green and increase the fragrance.

Cod, cut into chunks, and wakasagi (Japanese smelt) tsukudani:

Komochi shishamo (shishamo with roe in them):

Not real shishamo but capelin.

I prepared the cod to use for use in tara jiru (code soup) the next day.
Left: Shirako (milt)
Put in a bowl, sprinkle sake, let stand for 10 min, rinse with salt water, and drain with paper towels.
Right: Flesh
Rinse with salt water quickly, pat dry, put in a vat, and sprinkle salt, let stand for 10 min., and wipe with paper towels.
左: 白子
右: 身


Yangsze said...

Wow, this looked like such a fun festival, although very cold! What kind of farm tools did they sell?

Hiroyuki said...

YSC: You would never get tired of looking at all those flowers and plants! They were beautiful! It wasn't cold on that particular day. (Today, it's cold.)

Kuwa (spades), kama (sickles), and nata (hatchets), among others.
They are hand-made, and rather expensive. I hope I can get some of those hand-made tools some day.
You can see some photos from this page
(two photos in the third row)
on the official site of the festival.

David said...

How do you clean and cook the shishamo? Do you use the toaster oven? They usually have eggs inside them, right? I've heard because they are small, they have less contamination from mercury.

Hiroyuki said...

David: Clean them? You don't have to clean them. Just grill in a fish grill (and you are right; I use the toaster oven!). You can eat them whole.

Male shishamo don't have roe in them (laugh)! Just kidding. The ones that are sold at supermarkets usally have roe in them.

I'm not sure if smaller fish have less mercury than big ones.
I did some googling, and found that shishamo contains less mercury than other fish.
Sorry, both are in Japanese only.
Tuna and buri both contain more mercury than others.

You can find a topic about mercury in fish in the Japan Forum on eGullet, if you are interested.