29 November, 2015

Processing horse chestnuts in Shirakawa-go

On last Friday, 27th, my colleague Dr. N. Kamijo and I went to survey the modern processing activity of horse chestnuts in Gasshozukuri Minkaen Outdoor Museum, Shirakawa-mura Ono-gun Gifu.

The processing activities are conducted for a week every year, and the processed nuts are used for making tochi mochi (horse chestnut dumpling). Our visiting day was the 2nd day of processing nuts in this winter.

We interviewed Mr and Mrs N, who have processed for many years. They told us many things, in terms of processing nuts, removing their tannin, cooking recipes, and customes in this village.


In Shirakawa-mura, people use stone slabs and hammers. These stones are usually collected at a riverside. Mrs N liked her own handstone which she have used for many years, but Mr N used a new stone which he found at the riverside just on this November 25th. After just a hour from their starting, Mr and Mrs N made mounds of outer nut shells. 

*Sorry, these following photos are unclear because I took them in their operations.
We also observed tochi-muki-ishi (stone tools for processing horse chestnuts) at the folklore museum and a water workshop place for soaking horse chestnus in this village. 

In the afternoon, we visited the Historic Village of Gokayama inToyama. We also seeked tochi-muki-ishi at the folklore museum in this village, but there are no processing stone tools here. This seems to be caused by cultural and social differences between Gokayama and Shirakawamura.

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