Daio Wasabi Farm


WasabiOnOroshiganeNo doubt you have probably tried Sushi, Japan’s most popular culinary export, at least once in your life (and if you haven’t – what are you waiting for??) – so you are probably already familiar with the spicy, green wasabi paste that usually accompanies it. If, like me, you have ever added just a little too much to your shoyu (soy sauce to you and me) then it’s something you won’t forget very quickly.But did you ever stop to wonder where wasabi comes from? Or what it is?
You may have heard wasabi referred to as Japanese Horseradish which, although it is related, is actually a bit misleading. Wasabi belongs to the same family of plants as cabbage, horseradish and mustard – which comes as no surprise as the spicy kick hits you in very much the same way. Being an integral part of Japanese food there are many very large wasabi farms to found throughout Japan, but the largest of all of these, and most famous is the Daio wasabi farm in the Nagano Prefecture.
Opened in 1915, Daio wasabi farm is not only Japan’s largest wasabi farm b
ut also one of the largest farms overall – covering 15 hectares of Japanese countryside. Found in the small town of Azumino, just north of Matsumoto, it has become a popular tourist spot because of it’s beautiful natural surroundings, tranquil walking routes and it’s magnificent water mills. Fans of Japanese cinema might recognize the river and mills from Akira Kurosawa’s 1990 film “Dreams “. (Akira Kurosawa is widely regarded as Japan’s foremost Director being responsible for such epics as “The Seven Samurai” and “Yojimbo”)
But Daio wasabi farm is not just a place to enjoy the peaceful Japanese countryside. The farm also has some fantastic wasabi themed food where you can try the freshest wasabi you will ever taste. You can even have a taste of wasabi ice cream and wasabi beer if you are feeling adventurous.
And there’s plenty to see in the surrounding Azumino area too, on the off chance that you find yourself with time to spare after exploring the wasabi farm and checking out the size-able gift shop. With art museums, Shrines, Temples and a hot spring foot bath just for starters it is the perfect day trip for anyone.
The Farm have a Japanese website (here ) – no english sorry – but you can see some pictures and the map of the farm.
Getting there:
Take the O’ito line from Matsumoto station to Hotaka (30min) and then it is a 15 minute walk to the farm.
Bicycles are available to rent at the station for 200¥ per hour