Ono Pure Water Restaurant
UCHINAMI Old-fashioned House Night
Welcome to the UCHINAMI Old-fashioned House.
In this marginal settlement of Ono, Uchinami area,
an old-fashioned house still remains unchanged.
Surrounded by mountains,
You can hear the sounds of water running, birds singing, and insects chirping.
The river water runs near the house and passes through the mountain and the paddy fields,
then reaches the town deep under the ground.
Please enjoy the smell, sound, feel of water,
and special tastes of the cuisine
at where Ono water is born.
Finally, the day has come.
The day to enjoy the food raised by Ono’s water
will be served one day at the outdoor restaurant surrounded by the water and nature of Ono.
“Uchinami Old-fashioned House Night” is starting.
This event was produced by Mr. Kazutoshi Hasegawa, a designer and a movie producer, as the leader and nine young members of the citizen volunteer team “Mizukara”, who loves Ono, and a remarkable food developer Mr. Yusuke Hotta from “foodscape!”, who have been organizing food projects throughout the country.
Since April when we formed a team, we have sewn between busy work and housework
Everyone repeated a meeting over and over again
I have thought about the dishes and hospitality of the day.
We have invited various people from all over the country such as people related to the Carrying Water Project, environment and food specialists, event organizers, media and press people, and so on.
We would like as many people to know the wonderfulness of Ono’s blessing of water as possible.
We would like serve the food raised by Ono’s water to the people who have the power to convey Ono water.
That was our hope.
So, we handmade the invitation cards along with a member of “MIZUKARA” Ms. Kei Kuwahara’s instruction and sent them to each and every person with our deep thought.
We guided our guests through Ono city by bus before getting to the venue.
First, we took them to Oshozu, the biggest spring water place in Ono.
There are number of places where you can draw beautiful water to drink in Ono.
About 70% of the families in Ono have their own well and use the water for most of everything in their living. Ono is the only city which still keeps such lives among all the cities in Japan.
Ono is a city where people live very close to the water. It is a city blessed with water.
We filled the mont-bell × Carrying Water Project collaboration bottles, and headed towards the next place.
Then we visited Nambu brewery, one of the four breweries in Ono.
We tasted Japanese sake “Hanagaki” and got a little drunk.
Many people came from other prefectures along with the reputation of its good taste because of Ono water.
Stepping a little ahead at Itojunwado store, we had Ono’s famous summer specialties “MIZUMANJU”.
→Ono Pure Water Restaurant MIZUMANJU product page
This sweetness is made from Ono’s pure water.
The fresh texture of the sweetness may give you an “eating water” experience.
We got on the bus again, wondering where we were going to next. Then, we saw a huge SATOIMO, Japanese taro field right in front of us!
At Nakamura Farm, where SATOIMO have been made for generations,
we tasted Ono’s famous simmered SATOIMO that has both good texture and stickiness.
Looking at the SATOIMO fields and eating SATOIMO is an exceptionally good experience.
We got on the bus again and went down the mountain path. Then we saw a beautiful and clear river now just a little bit more until we get to the restaurant.
Now, the guests have arrived!
We handed our guests the natural dyed towels we had prepared for them to enjoy the cuisine on the day. Those towels were made by Ms. Mieko Matsumoto, a sculptor who lives in Ono, and MIZUKARA members.
Actually, the NOREN, shop curtains, and cushions prepared for the day are also dyed with natural ingredients by MIZUKARA members.
They decorated the venue with Ono light blue. We peeled 360 eggplants and dyed them carefully.
MIZUKARA members prepared all these from their desire of letting the guests enjoy their meals while feeling the nature of Ono.
First the toast of the welcome drink.
For the toast, we chose Ono special rosé carbonation of wild grape wine from “Hakusan Winery”
We served from the bar counter in the green field.
In fact, this bar counter was built by a MIZUKARA member Mr. Inmaki.
In the meantime, fresh vegetables appeared!
Ono “summer vegetable salad” and “cold soup of ANABA sweet corn”.
The salad was assorted dynamically in a familiar way in the “EATBEAT!” events presented by Mr. Hotta.
All these glossy vegetables are raised by Ono water as we all know.
Next is an eye-catching menu of the day, “Buckwheat flavored NICCOROSAND”.
Actually all Mizukara members had a shared goal –
“Creating a new specialty menu of Ono”.
And then, this is what they finally came up with.
They considered subtle texture differences and tried many prototypes, them finally created it as the result.
They used Simmered SATOIMO and made it into a croquette.
They used a special soy sauce for the Katsu-don bowl for seasonings,
added SUKO, pickled SATOIMO stems, for sour taste and a crunchy texture.
Then, they used Ono buckwheat flavored focaccia,
which made us enjoy the harmony of Ono’s tastes in one dish.
Our guests liked it very much!
This menu is planned to be served at restaurants in the city, so that you can look forward to it.
Next, we moved into the old-fashioned house.
There are natural dyed cushions made by MINZUKARA members here.
Both the NOREN and the cushions in this venue were made by them too.
Inside the cushions are some wood chips of fine wood such as hinoki and zelkova, which are given from Ono woodworking artists, and they smelled good.
There are natural plant decoration in the room here and they are a work of plant designer Ms. Emi Takami, a member of MIZUKARA.
She gathered the Ono local plants and prepared them on the day.
→Let’s go back to Ono’s pictorial book for adults by plant designer Emi Takami
All the guests sat in front of delightful look of “Ono’s home town dishes”.
Every single dish was filled with the members’ deep thoughts.
We discussed whether or not we should create Ono’s taste in a contemporary style.
We decided to serve our dishes in HO-ON-KO manner, memorial services for Shinran in Shin Buddhism, which is rooted in Ono life.
We believed that this is the best way for the guests to feel Ono.
Mr. Horita advised that it might give newness rather than in fashionable contemporary style even for young people.
The leaves and stones decorated on the plate are collected from mountains and rivers in Ono.
Rustic rich taste transmitted from good old Ono spreaded in the mouth.
In between, Japanese sake from Ono’s four sake breweries served, “Uno Brewery “, “Nambu Brewery “, “Manazuru Brewery”, “Genpei Brewery”
They, of course, the usage of Oshozu spring water.
After that, Frit of Ajime eel, a phantom fish growing only in clean water,
and “kamado-cooked Ono rice balls and pickles” cooked with spring water.
*kamado is an old-style Japanese kitchen range.
The rice was cooked using kamado which remained in the old-fashioned house.
And, hie, Japanese millet, that has been stored there for 50 years, which was mixed in rice.
Ms. Kayoko Mishima and Ms. Yoko Murakami, two members of the food unit nishoku and worked on this project as MIZUKARA members, gave a speech to hotly tell about their thoughts on cooking.
At the end of the event, we all went outside again.
We prepared the desert specially for this restaurant, DETCHIYOKAN, which usually is only in cold winter time, and Timor-Leste coffee brewed with Ono spring water, which is served by Mr. Makino, one of the members of MIZUKARA and the owner of Ono famous coffee shop MOMONGA Coffee.
Ono’s water is subtle sweet and it helps to extract more aroma from coffee beans.
Timor-Leste coffee beans are also subtle sweet and perfectly compatible with Ono’s water.
Mr. Makino told the guests that he had used the water he had drawn from Oshozu, where they had visited on the day.
Mr. Makino himself is the one who came back to Ono to seek good water for coffee.
→Let’s go back to Ono’s pictorial book for adults to Momonga coffee’s shop owner Toshihiro Makino
While thinking about Ono’s water, the wonderful night came to an end.
At the end, we took a memorial photo with everyone and greeted the guests off.
Thank you so much for coming all the way to Ono city.
Please feel free to come and taste the water, food and nature of Ono any time.