Fresh Wasabi (Photo: Katherine Moore)

Daio Wasabi Farm

Spice up your life at the largest Wasabi farm in Japan.

Fresh Wasabi (Photo: Katherine Moore)
Katherine Moore   - 3 min read

After visiting Matsumoto Castle, I traveled to the nearby town of Hotaka where I visited Daio Wasabi farm, the largest in Japan, which probably mean the world too. This area is famed for producing the best wasabi from the pure waters from the Alps.

A wide, deep river comes down from the mountains, passing through a waterwheel and then spreading between the trees of a wide, flat plane. There are row upon row of flooded gravel beds with the cold clear water slowly moving through them, which is what the wasabi needs to grow.

Many of these are filled with the bright green of the plants, while other are neatly piled up but empty. In some areas of the farm the gravel beds and broken up, the wasabi just harvested, and Wellington booted farmers are raking them back into the neat piles.

The farm is spread out over a wide area, with a restaurant, small shrines and shops linked by winding paths. It's very peaceful and picturesque place to walk around. The whole area is surrounded by the stunning snow capped Japanese Alps.

If like me, you have only encountered wasabi as a the bright green paste in Sushi restaurants or as a powder on peas, it also good to be able to see it in it natural form - even if it is pretty ugly! It is a pale green, twisted and knobby thing, much like a particularly contorted piece of ginger, topped by tufts of darker green leaves that doesn't look particularly appetizing at all.

At the farm they sell a wide range of wasabi based products such as wasabi crackers, peas, and crisps, right through to ice cream and chocolate.

I bought some ice cream for my walk back to the station in the dropping evening temperatures and strong winds (yeah I didn’t think that one through…) which I am pleased to report was actually really quite nice – it was very subtly flavored, being fresh rather than dried wasabi, and was a lot like pistachio.

Probably the easiest way to get there from the station is by taxi - easily available - but as the farm is a little out of town you might struggle to hail one on the way back, I suggest trying to ask your driver to return or wait for you. If not, don't worry the walk back is pleasant and about 40 minutes.

More info

Find out more about Daio Wasabi Farm.

Katherine Moore

Katherine Moore @katherine.moore

I am a 30 year old engineer from Manchester, UK.I love traveling and being a keen anime/manga fan I was fascinated by the idea of going to Japan in particular. After much anticipation and planning, I spent 3 months there in early 2010 - and boy was I not disappointed! This fantastic country has s...