Gourmet Feature 02Blessing of Ishizuchi, Foods from the Sea and Mountains
The Sea and Mountain—The Luxury of Taking Whole Bites of Nature
From the mountain to the villages, from the villages to the sea, nature’s activities are all interconnected.
The by-products of these activities are the bountiful foods which nurture our life-sustaining food culture.
The best part of eating local foods is the joy of tasting freshly caught and picked products. Let’s travel a little further out to where these foods come from. You will experience, as various forms of enjoyment, dynamic sceneries that change with the seasons and simple hospitality staged in elaborate ways. At highly-reputed restaurants of the mountains, villages, and sea offering the bounties of the Ishizuchi Mountain Range, you will find stories that begin with cooking ingredients. Eat them all and you will be sure to deepen your love for this land.
Ichi no Tani Yakata
The 5,432-meter Kanpu-zan Tunnel is the longest tunnel in the Shikoku region. Ichi no Tani Yakata is located nearby at a point where Iyo-ji route connects with Tosa-ji route. It is an area where you can get an up-close view of the natural landscapes, including a waterfall at the headstream of the Yoshino-gawa, streams that sound the refreshing splashing of water, and thick forest of trees including the 500-year-old katsura tree. Foods to be enjoyed here are Shamo chicken and dishes of tofu made by soaking them in water from the Yoshino-gawa. The breathtaking view from the Yakata is also part of the enjoyable meal.
Relax by the Japanese-style cooking hearth fire while listening to the crackling sounds of sumi charcoal. It is said that Sakamoto Ryoma* had an undying love for Shamo chicken. The slowly cooked chicken has a firm, almost crunchy texture and umami that increases the more you chew. The view out of the window is a satoyama** landscape. Visitors will spend a time of ultimate luxury.
* Sakamoto Ryoma: A samurai who played a key role in bringing an end to the last feudal military government in Japan.
**Satoyama: Japanese farming landscapes located between villages and the mountains.
Hiuchi-nada in the Seto Inland Sea, which views the fearless sight of Mount Ishizuchi in the distance, is a treasure trove of ocean’s bounties. Caught in this abundant sea are a wide variety of small fish, shellfish, and crabs, among others. A popular place for enjoying such fresh-caught seafood is Marutomo Suisan, a shop built on the grounds of a fish market near the fishing port. Various types of seafood are displayed in a crammed fashion inside the spacious interior, and aquariums containing live fish draw the eye. There is also a cafeteria in one corner of the market where tairyo-bata* flags fly. The fishermen’s fares including a kaisen-don rice bowl topped with copious seafood ingredients are reasonably priced.
* Tairyo-bata: Fishermen’s flag put up to indicate a rich haul
In this unpretentious space that has the feel of a market in a fishing village, you can see staff members skillfully cleaning fish in the back. The menu is full of variety including the most popular kaisen-don rice bowl, as well as set meals of tempura and sashimi. There is frequently a long line waiting to get into the restaurant.
Many purchase fresh affordably-priced fish and shellfish on their way out.
Kamebara, the view of which is one of the most beautiful in Omogo gorge, is an almost perpendicular rock-cliff that towers at 110 meters and is as wide as 200 meters. Right by this landscape that lets us feel the power of nature is Keisentei Omogo-chaya.
The “amago somen,” a dish made with locally-made Mikawa somen, are somen noodles that have a firm texture and go down smoothly. The famous Omogo-teishoku set is a hearty menu item that includes a soup with dumplings made of pounded millet, a dish made with amago trout, and Omogo-made konnyaku sashimi.
Inside the restaurant, there are counter seats against the large front window that looks out onto Omogo-kei, as well as tables and tatami-mat space in the back where families and large groups can relax and unwind. The beautiful outside view can be enjoyed from every seat in the restaurant. The simple dishes made with local ingredients are flavorful, and they attract many customers especially during the seasons of fresh spring leaves and of beautiful fall foliage.
Hatayama Garden is popular for its homemade pizzas with chewy, somewhat thick crusts and toppings like seasonal vegetables selected by an in-house vegetable sommelier. The highly recommended Tomato Pizza comes with loads of Kochi Prefecture-grown fruit tomatoes. The combination of succulently sweet and tangy fruit tomatoes with full-flavored boiled eggs results in a satisfyingly hearty pizza. Although located in a convenient spot along National Route 33, as the restaurant is surrounded by greenery and a flowing river, it has an attractive, tranquil atmosphere.
At this wood-toned restaurant that the owner made herself, there are seats out on the terrace so pets are also welcome. The terrace seats sit under a large Japanese zelkova tree that is often being visited by small birds. The menu items, including Yasai Tappuri Pizza (“pizza with lots of vegetables”) loaded with a total of 300 grams of eight different vegetables and the Tosa Hachikin-Jidori Chicken Sausage and Broccoli Pizza, can also be ordered to-go.