As autumn starts to set in, some of the locals in Nozawa Onsen start to head to the mountain in search of a local delicacy: wild mushrooms! There are a few hundred species of fungi that can be found on the mountains here, ranging from rare and expensive types to the famous “Shimeji” – long thought to be responsible for numerous health benefits. As Nagano prefecture is now the longest lived area in the world, it can’t be doing any harm!
When searching for specific edible mushrooms you need to factor weather, rainfall, and mainly which area of the mountain you will visit as different species require different fallen trees to grow from.
A word of warning though – make sure you take a knowledgeable local with you, some of the mushrooms look quite similar and the difference could mean a delicious addition to your miso soup or a quick trip to the hospital!
Today we headed to a local hotspot and lucked out with a nice haul of over a kilo of fresh Shimeji mushrooms. Iitadakimasu!