The Odawara Specialty Pickle Producers Association consists of local producers that are specialized in making Odawara’s traditional specialties such as Odawara umeboshi (Odawara pickled plums), ika-no-shiokara (fermented salted squid), Hototogisu maki (shiso-rolled delicacy) and Oukazuke (salted cherry blossom).


(The Origin and History of Odawara Umeboshi)
It is said that Japanese umeboshi, or pickled plums, were first brought to Japan from China in the Nara period as a Chinese herbal medicine called “Wumei”. During the Sengoku period, Hōjō Soun, a lord of Odawara Castle, extended power over the surrounding area. Having noticed the medical benefits and preservative effects of umeboshi, he had ume trees planted in and around his castle town and promoted making umeboshi. In those days, in order to keep the umeboshi from getting muddy in the battle fields, shiso maki umeboshi, or shiso-rolled umeboshi, was also invented. In the Edo period, as travelers crossing the Hakone mountain range began to carry umeboshi, it became well-known nationwide as a specialty of Odawara-juku, one of the fifty three stations of the Tokaido Road. And due to the rising awareness of the importance of a healthy diet in recent years, the health benefits of umeboshi have become widely known. Thus, Odawara umeboshi have become a daily essential in the Japanese diet.


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