2015.9.29
Gourmet Ehime

Yugeshima, The Island of Fresh Greens!

 

Floating near Shimanami Kaido, Yugeshima is one of Ehime prefecture’s outlying islands.

On the island, the weeds that grow in the gardens, as well as the small flowers that grow by the roadside are important ingredients!

Are they having trouble finding food? No, no, that’s not the reason.

Actually, these wild plants are being used to vitalize the island.

Here’s an example of how!

The wild flowers are simple and adorable!

These are called tsumina cookies (tsumina refers to the fresh green pinched out of plants), which are baked and topped with wild flowers and plants.

 

Ms. Rumiko Matsushita (center) and Ms. Reiko Murakami (left) are members of “Nadeshiko”, a group that makes the tsumina cookies on Yugeshima Island.

 

As Setouchi photo-writer Furukawa (right) would like to see the ladies picking young greens, we are taken to a garden.

“You pick them like this, and then put them on top of cookies,” Ms. Matsushita explains while showing us this Japanese nipplewort. On Yugeshima Island, the name tsumina also covers Oxalis, white clover, and Persicaria longiseta, which grows wild in every household garden in Japan.

We began picking fresh greens in the morning and before we realized it was already lunchtime! That’s when we headed to one of the island’s popular cafés.

 

Frequented by locals as a popular meeting place, Shimade Café is also popular among travellers.

“Tsumamina Lunch” JPY700! Tsumamina can even be found here! All the leaves spread on the large dish are edible. The pink flower on top of the rice is a pickled sasanqua flower. All the ingredients grow locally.

 

The person managing this café is Ms. Ritsuko Murakami (on the left in the photograph), who is also one of the people behind the tsumina island activities.

Ms. Murakami was originally one of the town hall staff. Apparently, after she met someone at a lecture who was doing research on tsumina cooking, she started activities for vitalizing the island using tsumina. The beginning was tough, but she worked hard and before long a new island specialty was born! Hidden within Yugeshima Island’s cute tsumina cookies lies not the “spirit of unneeded weeds”, but the “spirit of tsumina“.

Even after returning from the island, the spirit of tsumina continues.

“Oh, this plant is edible! And so is that flower!!” My whole garden scenery has changed?!

Setouchi Island Tour / Yugeshima Island

With a population of 2000, Yugeshima is part of Kamijima, Ochi district, Ehime prefecture. Located near Shimanami Kaido, which connects Onomichi city in Hiroshima prefecture to Imabari city in Ehime prefecture, it’s an outlying island, but accessibility is great. There is a direct ferry from Innoshima Island every 30 minutes. The ferry carries cars, as well, and takes a mere 10 minutes. We recommend it for easy 1-day trips! If you visit the island, first head to Shimade Café♪
Shimade Café
Address: 830-1 Yugeshimoyuge, Kamijima-cho, Ochi district, Ehime prefecture
Open: 9.00-18.00 (Last orders at 17.30)
Closed: Open year round
Tel: 0897-77-2232
HP: http://www.kibounoshima.jp/cafe/ (Japanese)

Tsumina cookies:

http://shimashop.my.shopserve.jp/ (Online orders, in Japanese)

Ferries (timetables, boarding location, etc.)
Innoshima Island (Karouto port) to Kamijima-cho (Kamiyuge Port):

http://www.town.kamijima.lg.jp/site/access/ (Japanese, with Google machine translation available)
By,
Setouchi Finder Photo-writers Izumi Furukawa (text) & Masashi Fujimoto (photos)

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Written by

Izumi Furukawa

Izumi Furukawa

Izumi Furukawa Hello. My name is Izumi Furukawa and I was born in Kagawa Prefecture. Before getting married in 2012, I wrote for various magazine companies and Internet based media organizations in Tokyo. After marrying, I moved to Hiroshima and am now raising my child as well as writing stories about my fascination with this area through Setouchi Finder. Most of the articles I write are about places I visit on weekends with my family. My favorite driving course is Route 375 from Saijyo to the Miyoshi Area, and my favorite food from the Hiroshima area is Anagomeshi (from Miyajima)!!

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