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Monday, May 14, 2007

Takayama Morning Markets

hoba miso
NB. Photos and edits in purple added 31/07/07

Hoba miso is the famed specialty for the Hida region. We padded our way downstairs to the aroma of this cooking downstairs at breakfast (served 7.30am-8.30am sharp).

Our feast of a breakfast included a boiled egg, pickles, toasted nori sheets, and a slice of cooked salmon (a little salty as though it had been preserved). The star of this meal was the burner as always. Resting on a metal sheet was our hoba miso, a thick paste mixed with mushrooms, scallions and vegetables, cooking on a magnolia leaf.

As the paste heated and sizzled, we stirred the mushrooms around with our chopsticks until it became a sweet and sticky mass perfect for eating with mouthfuls of plain white rice. The hoba has a sweet and spicy taste, with an umami undertone.

We visited the two morning markets: Miyagawa Market and Jinya Mae Market, both filled with local farmers and producers selling fruit, vegetables, rice crackers, hoba miso, pickles and plenty of souvenirs. There wasn't much fruit on sale but plenty of daikon, angelica spears, green onions and multi-coloured cobs of dried corn.

Mini geta wooden clogs

Traditional Takayama figurines

Fern shoots

Woven straw slippers

Hoba miso paste

Boiled sweets

Warabi fiddlehead fern shoots

Fresh strawberries

Figurine carvings

Coloured corn cobs

Pickled shoots

Paku ferns

Hello Kitty and Pokemon iced senbei rice crackers

The friendly man selling fresh Japanese marshmallows

Owara tamaten (they were very eggy and rich)

How owara tamaten is made

Dried chillies and lavendar

Dried fruits

Steamed buns

Paper penguin lanterns

Mitarashi dango (mochi rice dumplings grilled with a sweet soy syrup)

Japanese printed fabrics

Mochi rice dumplings

Tsukemono pickles

Japanese wild yams

Japanese hacky sacks / juggling balls

Filled with dried beans and made with fabric scraps, these have traditionally been practical but pretty toys for children.

All kinds of fabric, including Hello Kitty, Snoopy and Thomas the Tank Engine


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4 comments - Add some comment love

posted by Helen (Grab Your Fork) on 5/14/2007 11:07:00 pm


  • At 8/01/2007 10:35 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ooh i love the presentation of the lavender + chillies!

    also, how funny lookin' are the yams! hah.

  • At 8/01/2007 2:18 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Love your blog. Great photos! Did you eat those fern shoots? They look interesting...

  • At 8/01/2007 10:12 pm, Blogger Helen (Grab Your Fork) said…

    Hi Lindsey - Everything at the markets were so rustic and pretty. The yams were very bulbous and yes, we may have chortled for a minute or two :)

    Hi Noodle Princess - We did enjoy the fern shoots at our minshuku banquet dinners. They were very delicate with a faint bitterness. Quite delicious :) See the last pic at the end of this post.

  • At 8/04/2007 9:01 am, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That market looks fabulous! I think I'm going to have to bring three extra empty suitcases when I go to Japan, as I think I'm going to be doing a whoooooooole lot of shopping!


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