VIDEO: Exploring Japan: Edo Era’s radish drying method continues in Miyazaki

VIDEO: Exploring Japan: Edo Era’s radish drying method continues in Miyazaki

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

If you find yourself traveling around Miyazaki City, you may come across a peculiar sight: giant structures covered in daikon radishes sitting in the middle of fields.

These daikon radish houses, or Daikon Yagura, are the traditional method of drying the beloved root vegetable in Japan. The agricultural method was even designated a Japan Cultural Heritage in 2021.

For farmers in the region, this custom is important to pass on to the next generation of daikon farmers.

The impressive radish-covered stands are about six meters high, six meters wide and stretch 150 meters long. What’s even more impressive is these structures are made of bamboo and no nails are used to hold them together while thousands of daikon cover the exterior peaked walls to dry. Inside the structures, the daikon seemingly go on for miles, creating quite a sight.

Farmers in Miyazaki City’s Tano and Kiyotake Districts maintain the Daikon Yagura from December through February.

“Winter sunshine and cold wind from the mountains are just suitable for drying radish and other vegetables for preservation and was practiced since Edo Era (1603 – 1867) in this region,” says Etsuo Noda, a local farmer.

Radishes dry on the structure under the cold mountain wind for two weeks before being sent to the Michimoto Foods factory in Tano Town to become takuan radish pickles.

The bright yellow pickles have a punchy flavor and crunchy texture, which pair well with a traditional Japanese breakfast and sides with other meals. The pickle is loved by many domestically and abroad, according to Michimoto Foods president Hideyuki Michimoto.

Next time you see a takuan radish pickle, you’ll know about its humble start as a daikon radish drying in the cold mountain air of Miyazaki.

The Daikon Yagura radish houses in Miyazaki City are about a 4.5-hour drive from Sasebo Naval Base.

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