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Let's visit a local producer! Guide tour to a traditional kanten "farm"

Kanten, a harvest of ice

Price: JPY3,000 Duration: 1.5H

Activities

Discover a traditional winter specialty

When winter comes, and the land gets covered in a veil of white frost, locals gather at the kanten "farms" to prepare for a new winter harvest.
Making kanten following the old methods means working at the cauldron during the night and then spend hours out in the glacial weather during the day.
It is tough work, but producers take tradition very seriously. And so, every winter for the last 200 years, they have laid out their kanten under the cold sky.

During this tour, we will visit a local kanten "farm" at 1,000m, where the owner will guide us through all the stages of production. We will see the enormous cauldron where they boil seaweed, observe how they cut the solidified jelly-like substance called "namaten," and then walk through the rows of kanten laid out under the winter sky. You can also help the farmers take out the wobbly bar of namaten and puncture them with a spiky brush.
The visit will conclude with a tasting of delicious kanten-based dishes because the best way to discover new food is by eating it.

What is Kanten?

Even if you have never heard of kanten, there is a good chance you have eaten it at least once during your stay in Japan.
Kanten is, in fact, a key ingredient to many typical Japanese confectioneries. If there is something jelly-like in your traditional sweet, that is most likely kanten.

What is kanten made of?

Kanten is a by-product of a red seaweed called "agar."
You might be surprised to find seaweed in your dessert, but don't worry, kanten loses the sea-like flavor during the first stages of production.

But why is something made of seaweed produced in a mountain area?

We don't want to give away too much, but let's just say that one of the main ingredients is frost.
When making kanten, you are literally harvesting ice.

What makes kanten special?

Well, for one thing, kanten is a healthy food that is considered by many as the secret of the locals' longevity.
It is rich in fibers, has zero calories, and is suitable for people following a vegan diet.
More than that, though, kanten is a traditional food of the Yatsugatake area with more than 200 years of history on its back.
Kanten production has shaped the culture and gastronomy of the Yamaura.

Chino-san, the owner of Irisen

Irisen is a kanten "farm" located in the foothills of the Yatsugatake Mountains at 1,000m of elevation, a place rich in clean air and pure water coming from Mt. Tateshina.

INFORMATION

Period from December to March
Due Date by 5pm of the day before the tour
Duration 1.5H
Schedule

10:00

Start- Explanation of how kanten is made

10:15

Visit the factory

10:45

Visit the fields where kanten is laid out & seasonal experience

11:15

Tasting

No. of participants Min. 2 persons / Max. 20 persons
Price / person Adults- JPY 3,000 (tax excl.)
Children (3~12) - JPY 500 (tax excl.)

*From January 2022 adult prices will change as shown below:
JPY 3,000 (tax excl.) → 4,000 (tax excl.)
Included in the price Guide, Tasting, Insurance
Payment method Credit card or Paypal
Cancellation policy from 7 days prior to activity day : 30%
from 3 days prior to activity day : 50%
1 day before the activity day : 70%
the activity day : 100%
Access 25 min by car from JR Chino Station - Pick-up by guide available

Reservation

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