Sun-dried radish sleeping in bed Winter tradition by Edo Tokyo Hachioji playing with vegetables

Developer and successor of Takakura Daikon

Washing the radish turns the river white

“There is a river called Tanijigawa between here and the fields, and people often wash the radishes there. Then the skin on the surface is rubbed and the entire surface of the river is white foam.”
Mr. Saburo Tachikawa, living in Ishikawa Town and born in 1939 (Showa 14), talked to about 30 people taking the tour. The old story is that the farmers around here make a lot of Takakura Daikon every year. Mr. Tachikawa is the only producer left to make it over half a century.

Mating Mino Hayao and Nerima Hosojiri Daikon

The one who developed this radish and turned it into a fixed species is Zensuke Hara.
Around 1921 (Taisho 10), the seed of “Mino Hayao” purchased from a seedling dealer in Takinogawa (now Kita-ku) was planted with every other work among the beetles Nerima Hosojiri. Takakura Daikon was created a quarter of a century after selecting naturally bred radishes and improved varieties.

Hang in the sun during the day and cover your bed at night

Drain and soften the core

In the morning, the radish harvested from the field is taken away, washed immediately to the extent that it can be peeled (currently using a specialized machine), when dried it will be very drained. Washed radishes are hung and dried by tying about 10 ropes to a sword. It was a perfect day with a beautiful sunny day and a breeze.
“When the sun goes down, put the big down and the small up.”
As Mr. Tachikawa explained, the goza, quilts and blankets were spread on the dry ground. If left to hang, the core will not be soft, sleep is not good at night. The next morning, the carpet was soaked like a nap. Moisture will be removed by that amount, and the core will become softer.

Repeat the process of harvesting, washing and drying in the sun

In this way, the job of sun drying during the day and lying down at night is repeated for about a week.
Each radish weighs from 1.5 to 2 kg, so the weight of the radish is about 20 kg. It was a tough job because I had to lift and lower it every day. Dried radish has a weight of about 60 to 70%.
This year’s shipment is about 5,500. Since it is not possible to dry so much at the same time, the process that takes place once a week is repeated several times depending on the quantity of transport. This is because if you store harvested foods for a few days before drying them, they will harden and lose their flavor and texture.

As a side dish for the weaver

Go straight to the soaking bin in the factory cafeteria

The dried radish is also delivered in no time. It was once accepted by Yahyakuya and brought to the surrounding textile factories. Since ancient times, the area was a thriving mulberry plantation, known as the silk road connecting Yokohama and Tokyo, and during the Taisho and Showa times, the weaving factories were crowded.
There were large boxes of pickles in that cafeteria, and Yahyakuya, who brought the radish, used bran and salt to make the side dish, Takuan pickles, on the spot.
Takakura Daikon is very useful for such important needs, and many other products have been shipped to the Suwa and Okaya factories in Nagano Prefecture, and to markets in Shinjuku and Yodobashi in the central area.

The seed order and collection spanned decades

After a period of high economic growth, the number of textile factories decreased, and when hybrid varieties (such as Ao-old radish) matched with stable supply and mass-produced in the market, the number of producer Takakura Daikon, which requires a lot of time and effort to dry, has plummeted. However, I have no memory of my taste, and Mr. Tachikawa receives orders every year.
“When I was told, ‘It’s delicious, I’m looking forward to next year’, I can’t stop.”
With that said, Mr. Tachikawa chooses about 10 seeds to remove the soft, smooth-skinned seeds from more than 5,000 radishes. They are planted in the fields again to bloom in the spring and harvest thousands of seeds. We will sow again next September.

All made to order

Orders for Takakura Daikon have risen sharply in recent years, possibly due to the active PR activities and the popularity of Edo Tokyo vegetables.
This dried radish is made to order from the planting process. To preserve quality, we follow the ancient polite method of harvesting, washing, drying and transporting as soon as it is dried.
Takakura Daikon, a vegetable that can only be obtained during winter, is currently a rare vegetable whose production cannot keep up with demand.

The future of traditional vegetables has a history of 100 years

We visited the fields, visited the fields and enjoyed Takakura Daikon cuisine in a dinner party which was also a social gathering. It was held three times last year in 2017, and all of them are very popular, and the number of participants is increasing with each passing time, and the number of Edo Tokyo vegetable fans continues to increase.
Hidefumi Fukushima, representative of the Tama Hachioji Edo Tokyo Vegetable Research Association who planned and sponsored the event, joined Mr. Tachikawa and started producing Takakura Daikon as another producer. from this year. A source of nutrition for the workforce that has supported the development of modern Japan. The future is starting to reopen for a traditional vegetable that has a 100-year history.