Every area of Japan is incredible proud of its local produce. The fruit and vegetables that are grown tend to be of a very high quality, with local and seasonal produce playing an important role in the cuisine of each region. Snow Country is no exception, and the heavy winter snow and harsh climate have done much to shape the food culture around here. There are many famous food brands around, but one of the most unusual are the 雪下人参(YUKI SHITA NINJIN), or carrots from under the snow!
These carrots are planted in July and are still growing when winter comes. They spend several months buried under snow, and stored in this natural refrigeration they develop a delicious sweetness. Come spring the snow is cleared away and these juicy carrots are harvested and enjoyed.
You will be amazed when you eat one of these raw, but the locals are also using them in a variety of creative ways, from carrot juices to carrot sweets, cakes, and muffins. No matter how you enjoy them they are a real treat.
If you want to try them at their very best then jump on one of the tours that are available. You can head to the carrot patch with a guide and help dig up the carrots – a kind of treasure hunt in the snow. Give it a clean and tuck in. It is an unusual spring delicacy not to be missed.
One March 25th & 26th the Snow Country Tourism team are offering a special Harvest & Lunch tour to the carrot patch, starting out from Echigo Yuzawa Station. There are also trips over that way on April 1st, 2nd, 8th, & 9th, either Harvest with lunch or Harvest on its own. Take part in any of these tours and you get your own souvenir carrot! For more information please email the Snow Country Tourism Association.