Village of Omu-rice

In the central part of Kochi, there is a small village surrounded by mountains alongside a beautiful river. Even many people in Kochi might not know where this village is. But now, this village has gained attention inside and outside the prefecture. This village is called Hidakamura.  The reason why Hidaka gained attention is, believe it or not, omu-rice!

omrice1Omu-rice is said to have originated around the turn of the 20th century at a western style restaurant in Tokyo’s Ginza district called Renga-tei, inspired by kind of sushi. Omu-rice is a quite popular youshoku (a western style Japanese cuisine). Typically omu-rice is like consisting of an omulette made with fried rice and usually topped with ketchup.

And at Hidaka, there is called “omu-rice street”, 11 restaurants which we can eat omu-rice by side by side along with a national road 33 route. Furthermore, it is quietly popular spot in Kochi. It’s been a long haul being like that. The secret of success is a big effort to make revolution by Mr.Tokaji who is this village mayor.

“Kochi has many social problems more than other prefectures.” Mr. Ozaki, Governor of Kochi Prefecture said. One of the big problems in Kochi is that population are decreasing rapidly. Especially, Hidaka’s population is only 5000 people now, although decreasing 100 people a year. Since Mr.Tokaji took a position as a village mayor, “Using sugar tomatoes and rices that is local specialty, should we do village revitalization somehow or another?” He had been thinking since that. Then he ate his favorite food, omu-rice, the super nice idea came up to him. “That’s it!” He thought if he used omu-rice for village revitalization, not only agriculture was going to active, but also the livestock industry was going to active. Then, all of Hidaka was going to active! As a result, they sold about one thousand meals for two years. It means this omu-rice street had a great economic effort to Hidaka.

Furthermore, this omu-rice street has an interesting activity. They have omu-pass that means omu-rice passport. It has a privilege. It is an stamp rarry style and when you collected 4 stores stamps, you can get discount 300 yens, and collected 8 stores stamps, you can get 1000 yen discounts, and finally if you collected 11 stores stamps, you can get 2000 yen discounts! It is fun to go round many restaurants to comparing the tastes of omu-rice.

omrice2One of popular omu-rice is “omu-toma(tomatoes) curry) in Mura no Eki Hidaka. Seasonal vegetables are used on omu-rice. It tastes natural and fresh. An interesting thing is that it is managed by student group of Kochi University “Adatan”. This is for the local area of Kochi will become more active. And they made great influence to Hidaka to work together. Omu-rice in Nangoku Tosa in Restaurant Kochi is managed an famous company in Kochi. Omu-rice is on a hot iron plate, and tomatoes are so juicy. It won second prize on Kagome Omu-rice stadium.

omrice3At the head of me, many people enjoy eating omu-rice it is used sugar tomatoes. Of course, this challenge to make use of specialty goods are excellent for their economy, but also for consumers we can eat delicious food. So there are a lot of happy here.

“This year, Omu-rice street is hop-step-jump year. I want you guys to share it to achieve still greater.” Mr.Tokaji said so.

–Marina Tanimoto