- KANA YAMAGUCHI
Senshu: Southern Osaka’s Go-To Place for Sightseeing and Scenery, Now Home to Mizunasu Eggplant Cooking Classes! [PR]
Senshu is the area of Southern Osaka where you will find Kansai International Airport. The area has many attractions and events steeped in history and culture, and Senshu's sea and mountains are known for being a treasure trove of natural produce. You can now take part in a cooking class that introduces Senshu's best-known specialty—a kind of eggplant known as mizunasu. This article will tell you more about the cooking class that uses fresh, juicy mizunasu only found in Senshu, and introduce the best sightseeing spots in the area.
- Senshu: Steeped in History, Culture, and Tradition
- Top 3 Must-Visit Attractions in Senshu
- Senshu's Specialty: Enjoy the Charms of the Local Produce with a Mizunasu Cooking Experience
- Specially Selected Premium Mizunasu —Nakade Farm—
- The Mizunasu Cooking Class Provides a First-Rate, Delicious Experience!
Senshu: Steeped in History, Culture, and Tradition
A warm, mild area located in southwest Osaka, Senshu includes Osaka Bay in the northwest and an extensive rural area in the south surrounded by the Izumi Mountains.
The fertile sea and mountains produce an abundance of fresh foods, from mountain vegetables to seafood sourced from designated fishing areas. The agricultural produce, such as mizunasu, onion, and cabbage, and seafood, such as Izumi-dako (octopus), conger eel, and crab, have been an indispensable part of Osaka's food culture for many years.
Also, off the coast of Senshu is the unique man-made island that houses an offshore aerodrome, the Kansai International Airport. Known as Kansai’s gateway to the sky, it is easily accessed both from within Japan and the rest of the world.
One of Senshu’s main attractions is its location. Situated on the bay opposite Kansai International Airport, it is a mere 30-minute train ride away, and it is worth your while taking some time out to visit.
Top 3 Must-Visit Attractions in Senshu
In addition to the many shrines, temples, and historical sites brimming with history and culture, Senshu plays host to many popular traditional events. This section introduces the most famous sights and festivals.
1. Emperor Nintoku's Tomb
Osaka’s Mozu-Furuichi Kofun Group (Mounded Tombs of Ancient Japan) was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2019. Among this group of ancient tombs, the Tomb of Emperor Nintoku is the largest in Japan and is said to be one of the three largest graves in the world alongside the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt and the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor in China. It has a total length of around 406m and a width of 305m, and an aerial view reveals its key feature, an unusual keyhole-shaped mound found only in Japan. It is thought that its construction began in the mid-5th century and took as long as 20 years to complete.
Name: Nintoku-Tenno-Ryo Tumulus (Emperor Nintoku’s Tomb)
SAKAI Tourism & Convention Guide Official Homepage
Sakai City Official Homepage
Access: An 8-minute walk from Mozu Station on the JR Hanwa Line
2. Kishiwada Castle
This Japanese castle is popular both within Japan and overseas. It is reported that, of the castles still in existence, tens of thousands are left today without their main castle structure following destruction or damage by natural disasters.
Kishiwada Castle was first constructed in the 4th year of the Genko Period (1334). In the 13th year of the Tensho Period (1585), Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s uncle Koide Hidemasa erected a five-story castle keep. However, after this, the keep was destroyed by fire caused by lightning. In modern times, all that remained was the moat and stone wall. However, you can now see a 3-story replica keep that was built in the 29th year of the Showa Period (1954) along with the Kishiwada Castle Garden "Hachijin no Niwa" which has been designated a National Site of Scenic Beauty.
The dignified image of the castle keep rising from the high stone wall never fails to captivate its many visitors.
Here’s something to look out for! The stone walls surrounding Japanese castles are a must-see. The old craftspeople of Japan required a high level of skill to be able to pile up natural stones of various sizes, and expertly balance and fit them together.
Name: Kishida Castle
Access: About a 7-minute walk from Kishiwada Station or Takojizo Station on the Nankai Main Line
3. Danjiri Matsuri
Danjiri festivals ("matsuri" in Japanese) are lively festivals particular to Senshu that involve people running around pulling danjiri (floats used as offerings at Japanese religious festivals). The most famous is Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri. Taking place in the Kishiwada area, it boasts around 300 years of tradition and history. Held twice every year in September and October, it attracts many visitors from both Japan and overseas. The main highlight is seeing a yarimawashi where participants use the danjiri's 2 affixed ropes to speedily steer around 90-degree street corners. Don't miss the spectacle of the danjiri turning the corner on the signal of the daikugata (carpenter)—the person holding a fan and dancing on the roof of the float. Also, at night, you can see the floats, decorated with around 200 paper lanterns, being pulled slowly around town. It is a moving sight! Kishiwada Danjiri Festival is the most well-known, but every year, between September and October, each region of Senshu holds its own Danjiri Matsuri and each has plenty to offer.
Name: Kishiwada Danjiri Matsuri
Dates: Mid-September to mid-October
Address: Varies depending on the event venue
Access: Varies depending on the event venue
Senshu's Specialty: Enjoy the Charms of the Local Produce with a Mizunasu Cooking Experience
Plants and wildlife from Osaka Bay and the Izumi Mountains provide Senshu with a wide variety of natural produce. Why not try a cooking class using Senshu’s famous mizunasu to fully discover the charms of this homegrown local ingredient?
The Flavor of Senshu! What Is Mizunasu?
For around 150 years, the cultivation of the traditional vegetable "mizunasu" has flourished in Senshu as it is believed to be the only area with the correct climate and natural features to allow it to grow. Compared to a regular eggplant, the mizunasu is rounder with a softer, thinner skin. Packed with moisture, it is not bitter but has a sweetness closer to fruit, meaning you can eat it raw. This has earned it the title "King of Eggplant". It makes an excellent pickle, and in recent years, high-quality mizunasu pickles have become a popular mail-order item all over Japan. As the selection process is strict, and the highest quality mizunasu are only available in the summer, the vegetable is considered a valuable, rare gem.
Specially Selected Premium Mizunasu —Nakade Farm—
The farm is based in the Sawa district, a part of Kaizuka that is said to produce particularly delicious mizunasu thanks to its soil with high levels of sand and good drainage. It is one of just a handful of the mizunasu farms in Senshu who collect seeds from their own harvest and grow the mizunasu from seed. As most mizunasu farms buy their seeds externally, the flavor changes from year to year. However, at Nakade Farm, as they cultivate their own seeds, their mizunasu retain the same delicious taste every year.
Mizunasu is such a delicate vegetable that just touching the leaves during cultivation can badly damage the plant and lower its grade. At Nakade Farm, from the planting of the seeds until harvest, growing conditions are thoroughly and precisely managed by checking the soil's nutrients, its temperature, and the amount of water it contains to produce high-quality mizunasu that is characteristically soft, juicy, and sweet.
The first harvest of mizunasu usually begins in February and reaches a peak between April and August, and work becomes particularly hands-on as this period approaches. The harvested mizunasu may all look fairly similar at first glance, but there will be differences in size, shape, and color. Therefore, before shipping, farm workers carefully check each mizunasu, categorizing them as class A, B, C, D, or not suitable for sale.
The eggplants eaten in other countries have a thick skin and bitter taste, so they are generally boiled or deep fried. Senshu’s mizunasu has a thin skin and is actually quite sweet with almost no bitterness, so it can be enjoyed raw and is well suited to a range of dishes.
The Mizunasu Cooking Class Provides a First-Rate, Delicious Experience!
Trying out the top-quality dishes made from the best local ingredients is one of the highlights of visiting somewhere new. If you want to take your foodie trip to the next level, you have to try the Senshu mizunasu cooking experience run by the popular cooking classes provider "ABC Cooking Studio".
The culinary experience currently offers 3 dishes: a carpaccio made from mizunasu cut into 5mm slices and finished with the complementary, refreshing flavors of olive oil, pepper, and lemon; a tarte tatin made by topping a sheet of pastry with caramelized mizunasu; and a meat doria where the mizunasu is hollowed out with a spoon and used as a bowl topped with meat sauce and cheese before baking.
Making and eating your own dishes is a great way to enjoy Senshu’s top vegetable, mizunasu!
Venue: Abeno and Studio
Address: Abeno and 4F, 2-1-40 Abenosuji, Abeno-ku, Osaka-shi
3 minutes on foot from Exit 9 of Tennoji Station on the Midosuji Subway line and the Tanimachi Line. 4 minutes on foot from Osaka Abenobashi Station on the Kintetsu Minami Osaka Line. 6 minutes on foot from the Central Ticket Gate at Tennoji Station on the JR Line. 3 minutes on foot from Abeno Station on the Osaka Municipal Subway. 6 minutes of foot from Tennoji-ekimae Station on the Hankai Uemachi Line.
Languages available: English
What to bring: Nothing in particular
Event Schedule: Scheduled for some time between April and June
*Booking information to be added in the near future.
Osaka’s Senshu area is full of great things to see and do. While immersing yourself in Japanese history and culture, be sure to get your fill of mizunasu—a wonderful product of Senshu’s fertile natural landscape.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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