At the northern tip of Lake Biwa lies tiny Lake Yogo. On the edge of this clear lake sits Tokuyamazushi, one of the last practitioners of an ancient fermentation method: narezushi. Chef Hiroaki Tokuyama creates something much older and more primal than modern sushi. Fresh fish from Lake Yogo are packed in steamed rice and fermented at a constant, cool temperature for months. It is removed from the fermentation vessel, rinsed in cold spring water, thinly sliced and served on fresh rice. The flavor is a brilliant surprise—bright, clean, and surprisingly mild, with a soft cheese note.
Tokuyama sources other dishes from the immediate region: freshwater eel and sweetfish from Lake Yogo, herbs and mushrooms from the forests that surround the village, and wild duck and bear from the mountains. The dining room is simple and pleasing, like the surrounding village. Make the journey and experience this modern exploration of one of the roots of modern Japanese cuisine.