Traditional vegetable of Kanazawa – Kaga renkon (lotus root) from Hasudayori

Traditional vegetable of Kanazawa – Kaga renkon (lotus root) from Hasudayori

Kanazawa city in Ishikawa prefecture has an official brand of “Kaga vegetables”, traditional vegetables that have developed according to the local soil and environment. There are only 15 vegetables which have earned this recognition. We visited Hasudayori which grows “Kaga renkon” or Kaga lotus root.
The characteristic of Kaga renkon is that it is thick with fewer nodes, resulting in a stickiness and crunchy texture that stimulates your appetite. The stickiness is apparent when the lotus root is grated and steamed. It is said that the Maeda family of the Kaga clan planted lotus plants around the mote for aesthetics. Afterwards, edible lotus plants were imported from China and were grown locally.

“Lotus is planted in the spring and harvesting starts in August. The lotus root in the summer is still young and has a sweetness like pears. You can continue to harvest through May, and the lotus roots become stickier as the sugar content turns into starch. You can enjoy it in many ways like tempura and stir fry, but in this area, we like to grate and steam it and eat it with a sticky sauce.” (Takafumi Kawabata )
Mr. Kawabata became a farmer in 2006 after leaving his office job at 28 years of age. He learned about growing lotus roots at a farm before starting out on his own. He now grows lotus roots on a land extending about 30,000 square meters in northern Kanazawa.
“I’m trying to grow delicious lotus roots using only the riches of the soil and not relying on any fertilizer or chemicals.” (Mr. Kawabata)
We visited his farm in early November when the wind was already quite chilly. Mr. Kawabata ventured out into his wet plot to harvest the lotus roots. Using water from a hose to locate the more than 1 meter long root, he gently lifts the root from the murky water, so it doesn’t break. He must rely on his intuition and his sense of touch.
“We’re out in the fields from about 2 or 3 am. It can snow in the winter, causing the plot to freeze over.” (Mr. Kawabata)

Nakata gives it a try. The water is only knee high, but you have to crouch down to brace yourself. The mud makes it difficult to move around, and finding the lotus root is definitely not an easy task.
“You don’t know where the root ends even if you find the lotus root. And it’s so difficult to lift it up without breaking it.” (Nakata)
Mr. Kawabata is also involved in developing processed foods such as “lotus root chips” which are fried thinly sliced lotus roots, and “Kaga renkon powder” which can be used like flour or rice flour.
“It makes me happy when customers say that the taste is nostalgic. Lotus that is stored in the dirt during the cold season has a strong flavor.” (Mr. Kawabata)

“Kaga renkon chips” can be found in shops in Tokyo and online, and have a very distinct flavor because they are hand cut with the skin. Definitely worth trying.


183-2 Saidamachi Otsu, Kanazawa-shi, Ishikawa 920-3101
TEL 080-2958-1190