Japan Food Quest: Kyushu

Kumamoto Salad Onions
A Vegetable-led Revival

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Aired: Aug. 12, 2016


Kumamoto Salad Onions
A Vegetable-led Revival

Salad Onions are produced in the city of Minamata, Kumamoto Prefecture. It has a mild taste and can be eaten raw even without running it in water. Suitable in Ashikita, Minamata’s climate, it has been cultivated there for the past 30 years. The area is known as the origin point of Minamata disease, a neurological syndrome caused by severe mercury poisoning which was a result of industrial pollution. The reputation of Salad Onions had been damaged by the incident. For this very reason, producers strived to cultivate safe crops and in time, Salad Onions became known as a leading brand in Japan.

It is sold in the highest price at the Ota market in Tokyo. The average age of Salad Onions producers’ is 67 years old. Every year, new farmers join in to produce the crop. 30 years ago, there had only been 3 farmers and 0.05 hectares of land, but now there are over a hundred farmers and 64 hectares of land for Salad Onions production. Bred within Ashikita, Minamata’s history and climate, it has grown into a top-selling brand through the love and effort of the producers.

Shop Information

Kimura Kamaboko

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3-4-2 Sakuraicho Minamata-shi, Kumamoto Map

Saratama Festival (held in late March)

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Saratama dressing and other products available.

Michi no Eki Minamata
54-162 Tsukinoura Minamata-shi, Kumamoto Map

Restaurants where you can eat dishes using Saratama

JA Ashikita Restaurant Gyugyu-tei

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443 Sashiki Ashikitamachi Ashikitagun, Kumamoto Map

Kiraku Shokudo

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36 Higashimachi Kurume-shi, Fukuoka Map


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