Demise: Narazuke Moriguchizuke

Demise: Narazuke Moriguchizuke Tsukemono


The food courts of department stores in Japan are a near other-worldly experience. The offerings are exquisite in taste and beauty and nearly boundless in regional and seasonal variation. In addition to the regular stores, there are ‘demise‘, small stands that sell a product from a different region or local, small shop and these demise change every week. Paku found some amazing narazuke from a tsukemono house in Nagoya the other day at Takashimaya Department Store. Her favorite is ginger.

Narazuke (Nara pickles), as you might guess are originally from Nara, but they are made in other regions of Japan now. Yamatoya Moriguchizuke Honke (大和屋守口漬総本家) is a long established maker of narazuke from Nagoya and they have a demise at Kyoto Takashimaya several times per year.

About Narazuke

With narazuke various kinds of vegetables are pickled in a mix of sakekasu (sake lees, what remains after pressing sake mash), mirin, sugar and salt. Narazuke requires a minimum of 1 to 3 years to make.

Narazuke, originally from the ancient capital of Nara, has a history going back at least 1,300 years! That makes narazuke even older than the ancient city of Kyoto. The typical narazuke is often so strong in alcohol content that you feel a bit drunk after eating a few bits, especially if not eaten with food. A pickle that intoxicates!

Peko has been a fan of narazuke since he first washed up in Japan, because it’s a ‘drinkin’ man’s pickle’. To connoisseurs it goes especially well with Japanese winter cuisine, rice and of course beer and sake. Paku, like a lot of gals in Japan is no fan of narazuke.

Yamatoya Moriguchizuke’s narazuke is much lighter in taste and more accessible to modern palates.

Yamatoya Moriguchizuke’s Narazuke

Moriguchi Daikon: A daikon radish reaching more than 1.8 meters in length! That’s a big one! A rare vegetable and longest daikon in the world. Originally from Osaka but now mainly grown along the Kiso River near Nagoya, this daikon is used exclusively to make this tsukemono. (see image below)
Uri: A cucumber like gourd, translated as Armenian Cucumber or Japanese gourd. A very popular spring vegetable pickled in various ways. Peko is quite crazy about anything with uri.
Ginger: Traditionally an unusual vegetable for tsukemono. This ginger narazuke was exceptional.
Baby Watermelon: Another ‘modern’ narazuke. This is Peko’s all time favorite. About the size of an egg, this narazuke is very, very soft, yet still crunchy.
Cucumber: Another classic for narazuke. Tasty.

Yamatoya Moriguchizuke ‘Demise’ Stand
Department Store 'Demise' (出店) Narazuke, Morogichizuke

Yamatoya Moriguchizuke ‘Demise’ Stand – Narazuke Offerings
Department Store 'Demise' (出店) Narazuke, Morogichizuke
The very long ones are moriguchi daikon.

Yamatoya Moriguchizuke – Narazuke
Department Store 'Demise' (出店) Narazuke, Morogichizuke
From left to right, uri (a kind of gourd), ginger and cucumber. Notice they are still covered in sakekasu paste, which has turned brown with the fermentation process.

Yamatoya Moriguchizuke – Narazuke
Department Store 'Demise' (出店) Narazuke, Morogichizuke
Left to right, moriguchi daikon, baby watermelon and cucumber.

Yamatoya Moriguchizuke – NarazukeDepartment Store 'Demise' (出店) Narazuke, Morogichizuke
Moriguchi daikon and uri.

Moriguchi Daikon – a LOOONG Veggie!
This is a scan of a pamphlet distributed by the shop.
credit: Yamatoya Moriguchizuke (大和屋守口漬総本家)

Yamatoya Moriguchizuke Honke

This tsukemono house was established in the 1920’s and has been serving the Imperial Household since 1948.

Yamatoya Moriguchizuke website (Japanese language)

Honten/Main Store (Japanese language)
The honten includes a restaurant that serves many tsukemono and tsukemono inspired dishes. (We haven’t been there, but the pictures on the webpage look very good! Nouveau tsukemono cuisine!!)

Shop Locations (Japanese language)
There are many shops around Nagoya and several in the Tokyo area. Well worth checking out if you are in the area.

9 Responses to “Demise: Narazuke Moriguchizuke”

  1. Looks so good. I miss the basements of Japanese department stores. You could make a meal of just going around collecting samples. As someone who’s tried (unsuccessfully) digging up gobo which is only half the length of that daikon, I’m wondering how on earth they get that thing to come out of the ground without a backhoe or some other large piece of earth moving equipment.

  2. diva says:

    oh i do miss Takashimaya and the food hall! all that is epic! practically, you descend into a basement of pure gastro-delights. and i love pickles! so that’s gotta be on my to-try list if i can actually find them..:) cheers!

  3. Peko Peko says:

    Hello Marc,
    Yes that is one of the first things that I thought of too; how the heck do that get one of those moriguchi daikons out of the ground, and in one piece? Paku made buddies with the clerk at the demise, maybe she will contact them for details?

  4. Peko Peko says:

    Hi Diva,
    ‘epic’. ‘pure gastro-delight’. Very well put, indeed!
    Those pickles (made by other makers) can be had at any large department store in Japan. So, you won’t have any trouble finding them.

  5. Stephanie says:

    Ooh, that all looks so tasty! I used to live in Japan, and I absolutely fell in love with the foods there, especially the foods you could buy at stands along the road. I never saw that ridiculously long vegetable though, it’s amazing!

  6. Peko Peko says:

    Hello Stephanie

    Thank you very much for stopping by! Yes, very, very delish! Actually, though I am a KyotoFoodie, I have actually never seen a live moriguchi daikon. They are pretty rare, I guess. I just asked Paku (I am in the dog house with her now) and she said that she has never laid eyes on a fresh moriguchi daikon either. So, you are not alone!

  7. […] can be lightly toasted and served with honey. Narazuke is pickled dark brown neri-kasu, kasu that has been allowed to age for several […]

  8. SMMama says:

    Wow! Those daikons are amazing – we grow the fatter shorter kind and have been blown away by their size, but those babies are incredible.

    I have just started my own Nukadoko, and it was interesting to compare yours with mine, I’m enjoying it immensely. Thanks for the great blog!

  9. Peko Peko says:

    Hello SMMama, Yes, these are some looooooooong radishes! I visited your site and am sooooooo glad to see that you are doing nukazuke over there in the ‘barbarian countries’ too!

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