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Experience Nagahama’s Nature Focused Culture

Traditional Food and Beverage Making with Sustainable Roots

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Veronica Carnevale   - 7 min read

Lake Biwa (Biwako), located in Shiga Prefecture, is one of Japan’s largest freshwater lakes.

This ancient lake has nourished animal and human life in the Nagahama region for centuries, creating a local culture deeply attuned to the environment’s blessings. Visitors can experience the Oku Biwako region’s customs firsthand by participating in its food and beverage making practices, which focus on using locally sourced ingredients to create cuisines that are in harmony with nature.

Press Soybeans to Make Milk and Tofu!

(Photo: Ayaka Ashimori)

Moon Food Japan is a vegan company committed to using pesticide-free soybeans grown in northern Shiga to craft their famous vegan ice cream. The company’s owners are dedicated to capturing the essence of Shiga’s countryside in their food. You can meet this couple personally by participating in their three hour food making experience.

(Photo: Ayaka Ashimori)

The process starts with learning about veganism and the locally grown soybeans. Afterwards, you will squeeze soybeans into fresh milk, which you will spend the next hour transforming into tofu. For the last hour you can enjoy the fruits of your labor with a meal of onigiri, miso soup, and your freshly made tofu. The experience ends with a cup of the company’s renowned ice cream! The couple’s passion for food making is contagious, and the immersive process highlights their connection to the loving sourced ingredients.

(Photo: Ayaka Ashimori)

Details

Location: Venue is subject to change, though it will be about 20 minutes walk from Kinomoto Station. Taxis from the station are also available. Price: 8,000 JPY Click here to book a class.

Distillery Tour and Tasting

(Photo: Ayaka Ashimori)

Alcohol is intertwined in social society, adding unique tastes and carefreeness to gatherings. Nagahama Roman Beer in Nagahama City is a small distillery that celebrates these beverages. The company consists of only nine staff with each member being directly involved in the alcohol making processes, adding a human touch to an otherwise chemical process. The staff’s passion for making craft beer and whisky exudes from their work, and overall contributes to the development of Nagahama.

(Photo: Ayaka Ashimori)

You can join the friendly staff for a tour of the distillery. During this 90 minute tour, you will learn about the distillery process through the experts eyes. After the exposition, you can sample the lovingly crafted beer and whiskey, knowing each sip was created by the company’s drive to produce something special.

(Photo: Ayaka Ashimori)

After the tour, you can enjoy a meal at the attached restaurant, which uses local ingredients, such as Omi beef, a specialty in Shiga. Nagahama Roman Beer’s commitment to excellence and quality is pervasive in every aspect of their business.

Details

Location: Nagahama Roman Beer, 14-1 Asahicho, Nagahama, Shiga 526-0056, Japan Price: 8,750 JPY (If you book for 4) Click here to book a tour.

Learn About Hunting From a Real Hunter and Taste Wild Meat

(Photo: Ayaka Ashimori)

Kintaro, a unique izakaya supplied by an experienced hunter and run by his friends, is more than just a restaurant. The izakaya bridges the gap between people and nature by creating dishes that feature local vegetables, wild plants, and game meats, such as deer, wild boar, and bear.

(Photo: Ayaka Ashimori)

The veteran hunter also offers a special experience at his workplace where you can learn about sustainable hunting and its role in promoting environmental balance. The two hour experience starts with a 30 minute explanation about the practice of capturing and safely dismantling wild beasts, which is supplemented visually with hunting tools. After the lecture, Kintaro will serve you a variety of dishes, which highlight the respectfully prepared game meats. The izakaya creates an undeniable sense of togetherness, which is evident not only in its dishes, but in the community of people that celebrate them.

(Photo: Ayaka Ashimori)

Details

Location: Kintaro, 1153 Nakanogo, Yogo-cho, Nagahama Price: 109,500 JPY (If you book for 5) Click here to book a class.

The Nagahama region’s appreciation for the environment is a refreshing perspective on life, and participating in the residents’ practices of honoring nature’s gifts are truly eye opening experiences.

Getting there

Traveling by train is the most efficient way to reach Nagahama, aside from renting a car.

Via Kyoto Station: hop on a train on the JR Biwako Line (bound for Omi-Shiotsu) to reach Nagahama Station in just over an hour, or first take the bullet train to Maibara before changing to a local line for a faster 45-minute journey.

Via Nagoya Station: if coming from Nagoya to the east, both local and express trains can be used and require changing at Maibara. The local Tokaido Line (via Gifu) takes about 1 hr 40 min whereas the Tokaido Shinkansen bullet train will get you there in 45 mins.

Veronica Carnevale

Veronica Carnevale @veronica.carnevale

Fulfilling my traveler's soul!