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Local Specialities

Wasabi

Wasabi is a root known as Japanese Horseradish and commonly found in sushi as a paste. As fresh wasabi is so perishable and expensive, the root wasabi is not common for home use. At Daio Wasabi farm, visitors can taste "real fresh wasabi" and also get the rare opportunity to see how wasabi is grown on the farm. You can even try wasabi ice cream and wasabi beer.

Refer to Marui Wasabi's website (Azumino-based wasabi factory. The website contains "Wasabi trivia" and "How to enjoy eating wasabi".)

Soba (Buckwheat Noodle)

A specialty in Nagano prefecture, soba is a thin noodle made from buckwheat flour. Azumino's handmade soba is regarded throughout the prefecture and can be found in many soba restaurants all over Azumino. Served either in hot broth or chilled with a dipping sauce, local soba noodles are fresh and abundant all year round. The best harvest season is Autumn when many local Soba Festivals are held in the region.

Oyaki

Oyaki is a buckwheat or wheat bun specialty even more specific to Nagano prefecture than soba. There are rich varieties for stuffing including vegetables or Anko, sweet bean paste. The bun is usually cooked by either steaming, roasting after steaming or broiling in ash. Oyaki is available in shops, such as Azumido(Japanese Site) (Tel 0263-71-1400) in Swan Garden near Toyoshina Interchange, and select restaurants through Azumino.

Shinshu Salmon

Shinshu Salmon is a treat which is hard to find outside of Azumino. A hybrid fish of brown trout and rainbow trout, Shinshu Salmon is a fish distinct to Nagano and has rich and deep savory flavor. Many restaurants serve Shinshu Salmon rice bowls and Hotaka's Tsuki-no-sakana restaurant (see Restaurant Directory) wraps it atop their “Azumino sushi roll”.

Sake

Sake is a fermented alcoholic beverage made from rice. In Japanese, sake is actually a broader term for alcohol, while nihonshu specifically refers to Japanese rice based sake. Sake is served cold, at room temperature, or heated depending on the season, quality of the sake and preference. It is said that good water and good rice make good sake. Azumino Sake, which has both elements, is available in local shops and is served in many restaurants.
EH-shuzo (Japanese) (Tel 0263-72-3011) offers a tour, tasting and shopping.


Wine

Japanese wine often has its own flavor, categorization process, and grape varieties. Swiss Village Winery (Japanese) (Tel 0263-73-5532) and Azumino Winery (Japanese) (Tel 0263-77-7700) offers tours, wine tastings, and a retail store for visitors interested in local Azumino wine. Both wineries also offers their apple and other fruit wine drawn from Nagano's orchards.

Japanese Sweets

Wagashi refers to traditional Japanese confectionery. Like much of Japanese cuisine, Japanese sweets use uncommon flavor and natural ingredients which are unparalleled in presentation and often healthier than other cuisine's counterparts. Rice, varieties of beans, sugar and fruits are most frequently used as ingredients. Many confectionery shops in Azumino, such as Maruyama (Japanese) (Tel 0263-82-2203), Kaiundo (Japanese) (Tel 0263-76-5060), and Saika (Japanese) (Tel 0263-82-8812), offer their specialty and standard style of wagashi throughout the year.

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