Enjoying the variety of local tastes at the Oku-Iya Autumn Harvest Festival – Part 3



On November 6th, the 3rd annual Oku-Iya Autumn Harvest Festival was held in the Higashi-Iya (East Iya) section of Miyoshi City’s secluded Iya Valley. Featuring a vast range of foods made with natural ingredients produced by the local residents, it was a wonderful way to experience all the down-home tastes of Iya.

A variety of tents were set up offering the tastes of Iya, but it wasn’t only traditional foods that were being served at the harvest festival. 

Old-time ingredients with a modern twist 

In an attempt to introduce the tastes of millet to a new generation, the Higashi-Iya Millet Production Association has worked together with local people to developed a variety of contemporary creations.

Various sweets and breads were available made with millet flour, along with some freshly cooked millet pancakes, the recipe for which was recently developed by the Millet Association. And packages of the pancaked mix were also being sold here as well. 

The staff from the Kouya Farm-stay Guesthouse had a range of millet shortbreads, waffles, and “snowball” cookies all displayed in their fashionable packaging.

Apparently it took them several months to perfect their original recipes, and indeed, the results were not just delicious, but understandably popular with the local people.

Another local treat available was the Assobimotte Honey, and the producer came up from the Ikeda section of Miyoshi City to offer up jars of this natural goodness. 

There were two types of honey available made from two different species of bees, and it was possible to do a taste comparison of the two varieties.

The creations of Iya’s next generation

The tent for the local elementary school and middle school children was full of enthusiasm. The kids had a wide range of baked goods on hand that utilized the local millet that they helped grow, as well as their own home-made konjaku (gelatinous devil’s tongue), which is actually quite challenging to produce.

The school children also had on offer a variety of wood-working creations and hand-made crafts utilizing Iya’s natural materials, which showed off their non-culinary skills.

No doubt, the younger generations of Iya is playing a central part in the Harvest Festival, and in the future all the groups involved plan to work together in order to introduce the tastes of Iya to a larger audience. They even hope to hold smaller but equally delicious seasonal food events throughout the year, not just in the autumn.

So hopefully the next time you visit the Iya Valley you can have a chance to taste all the wonderful flavors of this special place.

For more information in about visiting the Iya Valley, check the IyaTime website (in English):


(Text & Photos by: Shaun Lamzy)