Farming and food cultures
Farming and food cultures passed down through generations
The Kunisaki Peninsula was once made up of the six hamlets called Musashi, Kunawa, Kunisaki, Tashibu, Aki and Imi, formed along the valleys spreading outward from the Mt. Futago ranges. These six hamlets together were called “Rokugo”. The syncretic Shinto and Buddhism “Rokugomanzan culture” in the temples opened by the monks of Kyushu’s largest manor, the Usa Hachiman Shrine (a National Treasure) and its associate temple Miroku is known to have blossomed, and the folk customs and food culture associated with farming have been passed down through generations to this very day.
In the Kunisaki Peninsula Usa area there are many temples of the Tendai Buddhism sect with strong ties to the Usa Hachiman Shrine, and there are many characteristic religious festivals relating to agriculture that are still practiced to this day.
- Shujo-onie Festival
(Bungotakada City and Kunisaki City)
- This festival is to show gratitude for the harvest of the previous year and to pray for a good harvest in the year ahead. It takes place at Tennenji (Bungotakada City), Iwatoji and Jobutsu (both in Kunisaki City) temples. Giant torches are lit, there is a Buddhist memorial service by monks, and ‘Oni’ (demon) dances are performed.
- Doburoku Festival
- This is a festival at Shirahigetahara Shrine, where thanks is given to rice harvests. At this festival rice wine called ‘Doboroku’ made by parishioners is offered to the guardian deity of the shrine. It is said to have been passed down as a parishioner focused religious organization and event. The practice began in 710, and has been carried on for over 1300 years.
- ancient unit for measuring local administrations
- land ownership system of lords and temples from the Nara Period to the Sengoku Period.
- Syncretization of Shinto and Buddhism
- The harmonious fusion of Shinto and Buddhism
Many local dishes
There are many local dishes here that utilize seasonal agriculture, forestry and fishery produce caught and harvested in the area. This local cuisine is offered at each household and restaurant run by local residents.
A group of local women is not only carrying on the tradition of the local dishes, but is also developing new meals using local produce. They are endeavoring to revitalize the region through the succession of regional culture and interaction with large cities.
- Dango dumpling soup
- This soup contains seasonal vegetables and long, stretched out Dango dumplings made with wheat flour, and is seasoned with miso. It is a local dish representative of Oita Prefecture and has been a fond meal for many people from times when rice was scarce.
- Mitori-okowa rice dish
- The Mitori bean is part of the pea family of plants and is a type of black eyed pea. Compared to the Adzuki bean, the Mitori bean is darker and does not break apart when cooked. It is eaten as a substitute for Adzuki beans at Buddhist memorial services and feasts at festivals.
- This is a dish from fishing villages where soup stock made using dried Shiitake and the offcuts of fresh fish is then poured over noodles made with sweet potato flour and wheat flour. This is an everyday food that spread in the middle of coastal areas with limited space for rice paddies.
- White fish such as sea bream is marinated in soy sauce and sesame seeds and served on warm rice. Hot green tea is then poured over the entire dish. The feudal lord of Kitsuki loved this dish and used to say “ureshiinou!” when he ate it (which means “I’m happy!”). Therefore the dish was named “Ureshino”.