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Trails to Oishii Tokyo

Trails to Oishii Tokyo

TRAILS TO OISHII TOKYO (formerly called Trails to Tsukiji) takes an in-depth look at Japanese food available at Tokyo's iconic market, where every kind of fresh food, from seafood to produce, is gathered from around the country. The program traces unique Japanese foods from the market back to their original source. Past episodes included: "Abalone," called "the treasure of the sea" in Japan; "Oysters," which the Japanese have been eating for 4,000 years; and "Green Tea," the country's popular beverage of choice.

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Today we focus on Aji, or horse mackerel, one of Japan's most popular types of fish due to it being both delicious and economical. Seki-aji is a rare fish caught in the tides of the narrow straits of Kyushu known for its outstanding umami. Experienced fishermen must read the tide and rely on their intuition. Our reporter goes out to fish with one such expert, and also visits a high-class sushi restaurant to learn about Aji sushi preparation methods that vary according to fish size.

Anago, or white spotted conger, has maintained its beloved status among the Japanese for over 3 centuries. Summer is the prime season for this vitamin-rich and high-protein snake-like fish prized as the perfect remedy for summer fatigue. Anago also plays an integral role in the refinement of the nation's most iconic dishes -sushi and tempura. Together, let's explore the allure of Anago by learning about its unique trapping method using pipes, and taste a variety of traditional Anago dishes.


Japan's most beloved freshwater fish, the Ayu, or sweetfish in English, inhabits only the cleanest rivers in the country. Living on a diet of pure algae, the Ayu has a unique watermelon-like scent and a delicious flavor. Journey with us to the Ayu's beautiful natural habitat and discover how this so-called queen of the river is caught and prepared in a variety of local and modern dishes.

Over the years, Japanese cheese has evolved to win international prizes. It has a rich aftertaste and umami characteristic of all Japanese cuisine. Visit leading natural cheese factories in Hokkaido Prefecture, Japan's largest dairy producer, to discover the secrets behind enhancing quality and a process that involves burying cheese in the ground. Also, meet a young cheesemaker who strives to make his small town famous for blue cheese.

Our theme this time is the sweet red fruits that sparkle like rubies: cherries! In Japan, cherries are expensive, high-end fruits popular for gift-giving: one box can go for over 500 dollars. We visit Yamagata Prefecture, Japan's largest cherry-producing region, to see how its high-grade cherries are cultivated and selected. We also discover cherry-based desserts, French dishes and more.

The most appealing thing about Japanese corn is its fruit-like sweetness. Hokkaido Prefecture's large corn fields are home to many varieties, including one that's soft enough to eat raw, another with kernels as white as snow, and a flint corn with large, rich kernels. In addition, we showcase a popular cornbread which people line up for hours to get their hands on, unique French dishes that feature corn's sweetness and texture, and much more.

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