Located near the center of Japan at the crossroads between East and West, Itoigawa is home to unique history, culture and traditions.
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A unique folk tradition passed down in Itoigawa since ancient times. A special blend of tea is boiled with salt and whisked vigorously to produce a thick foam. Unlike Japanese Tea Ceremony, Batabata Tea is a simple, relaxed experience.
Sasazushi literally means "Bamboo Leaf Sushi" and is a traditional food of Itoigawa. Vinegar-flavored rice and various colorful toppings are served on top of a bamboo leaf. The vinegar and bamboo leaf help prevent spoilage, so it was a popular food in the time before refrigerators. Today it is popular for its colorful appearance and delicious flavor.
In ancient times, the Matsumoto Road was an important trading route between Itoigawa and Nagano Prefecture's Matsumoto City. Salt was the main product transported on this road, so it came to be known as "The Salt Trail." Salt was a vital commodity in those days, important for preserving food, so this road was an invaluable lifeline for the people of inland Japan.
Today, you can still walk this road and sections of it are preserved exactly as they were centuries ago.