When Japan closed itself to the world, they also sort of banned locals from wandering around the country. Most Japanese were made to carry some sort of identification papers with them at all times. If they weren’t able to present these to samurai guards, they’d be in real trouble. There was even a restriction on using wheels, meaning people had to carry things on their backs. It had something to do with hindering progress to keep a hold on the citizens. Anyway, if there were no wheels and no one could travel, how did things get around?
The simple answer is a not a lot of things got around. Most things remained where they were, with people sustaining themselves on what they had around them. When I first heard about this, I started asking some friends about food, did everyone eat sashimi then? How about the mountainous areas?
Apparently, each area has its own sashimi, based on the seafood that could be found locally. Places like Nagano and Gunma, which are a bit far from the sea, had konyaku sashimi. Konyaku was sliced to look like sashimi. I’ve also heard of sushi made from other local products like potatoes or yams. And there are the different wrappers, probably because nori couldn’t make it to other places. In Nara, they wrap some sushi in kakinoha (persimmon leaves), and in some other places they wrap them in bamboo leaves.
What kind of specialty does your region offer?