When it comes to the excitement of appetite-whetting autumn in Sado, newly-harvested rice takes center-stage. Around the vernal equinox, rice harvesting begins all over the island. Nurtured by the moderate climate of Sado, with its clear water and minerally laden sea breezes, Sado’s Koshihikari rice is renowned as a top, brand-name rice, on par with Uonuma rice today. It varies from tanada-mai (rice grown in terraced rice fields) and the Toki brand rice, to hazakake-mai (rice hung across wooden poles and sun-dried), all of which are grown in harmony with nature, to reduce negative environmental impact.
Wholeheartedly grown by farmers, the freshness of the steaming rice makes you want one helping after another, even without other dishes. You will be filled with happiness at every bite.
Autumn fruits rival rice. Okesa-gaki persimmons, famous as a brand-name persimmon, are grown all over Sado, mainly in the Kosado region. The orchards where persimmon trees bear fruit form part of the quintessentially Sado autumnal scenery. Sweet and juicy, persimmons are rich in vitamin C and polyphenol, which is said to prevent lifestyle-related diseases and to eliminate odours. Okesa-gaki is a very common fruit enjoyed in many ways: served as a dessert after meals, plus used in confections, dressings, wines, and body soap.
In the Uchikaifu region well-known for yellowtail fishing, persimmons are scattered over the nets, in hopes of a bountiful catch, at a ritual called “Ami-okoshi (literally: net raising),” when huge fixed nets are set up in the sea. This is because in Japanese “collecting many fishes” sounds like “to put in persimmons” (kaki ireru).
Not just persimmons, Sado overflows with other fruits, too, such as Le Lectier pears, figs, kiwifruits and more. Recently the black variety of figs “Violette de Solliès (biore soriesu),” also called the “rare black diamond,” has been well-reputed. As such, autumn in Sado is a season of fruits aplenty, which offers delicious mushrooms and vegetables as well.
Coinciding with the harvests, there are gourmet events going on all over Sado, including Ondeko (Deity mask dance) in Niibo & Toki Yubae-ichi (sunset market), Koiccha Ogi Donchan Matsuri (festival), and Hamochi Umyaamon (delicious goodies) Matsuri.
Come visit Sado and let your taste buds explore the autumn flavours to the fullest. Bon appetit!