In winter, many tourists come to Oshio Village in Yamanashi Prefecture to see this charming sight – bright orange corn cobs hung out to dry outdoor with Mt. Fuji in the background. As a matter of fact, it’s already one of the winter attractions in Japan that can be experienced only in this season.
The wooden rack for drying corn cobs belongs to a 73-year-old villager, Ken Amano. Every year in winter for about 20 years, he sets up the rack and hangs out approximately 700 corn cobs of “koshu” corn (a crop indigenous to Yamanashi Prefecture) to dry in the air.
Until about 1950, koshu corn was a popular product for the farmers in Oshino as the village is unsuitable for rice production because of its cold climate. So hanging corn cobs under the eaves or in the fields was one of their seasonal traditions in winter. The dried corn was then ground into flour to make dumplings and other winter dishes. But the tradition faded out as their eating habits have changed.
Amano, who helped drying corn in his childhood, asked his neighbors to grow koshu corn again so that he can recreate this lovely scene and carry it on to next generation. Every year since then, he builds a new corn rack.
“I hope many to enjoy this beautiful winter scenery of Oshino that reflects everyday life of people,” said Amano.
(Jan. 10, 2016)