Opening the package is fun! What is “Kakinoha-zushi”, a local dish in Nara?

“Kakinoha-zushi”(or Persimmon leaves sushi) is different from what you may know as “sushi”. It is wrapped neatly like a present, and is a local cuisine inherited in Nara. Its history dates back to Edo period. Nara is an area where doesn’t face the ocean, so the merchants at the time put lots of salt on the fish to prevent from decay when carrying them from the port of Wakayama Pref because there was no such refrigerators like today. However, the fish get too salty when arriving at Nara, and people cannot eat them no matter how they grill or boil. So, people started to finely slice the fish and put them on rice. It has said that that was the start of “Kakinoha-zushi”.



The reason of wrapping sushi with the leaf of persimmons are not only for the excess amount of leaves!?

So, why do you think it is wrapped with persimmon’s leave? Persimmon is the specialty of Nara, and there were lots of persimmon leaves available is maybe one of the reasons .However, there is one more big reason about it. It has known that Persimmon leaves have bactericidal action, and have been used for wrapping foods like bamboo leaves and mambo peels. It is so to say, natural “Wrap film” . The scent of Persimmon leaves attaches to sushi, and it makes taste better. “Kakinoha-zushi” is a work of Japanese ancestor’s wisdom!

There are variety of fishes to be wrapped.

The Kakinoha-zushi seen in Nara and Kyoto have mackerel or salmon. There are some arranged sushi which have conger eel or Kodai (small bream) can be seen. Also, there is a different type of Kakinoha-zushi in Ishikawa Pref. It has blue algae and sakura shrimps on the rice beneath the mackerel. Please try both of them if you love sushi!

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miho mayeda

miho mayeda


I politely introduce my beloved country of Japan in my beloved Japanese language. I am an artisan with words, and will give my body and soul to the end. I am a freelance editor and writer who was born and raised in Tokyo.