Gassandake Pt. 1

Updated: Sep 18, 2020

Gassandake bamboo (bamboo shoots that are harvested on Mr. Gassan) Mr. Toshikazu Sato, a representative of Sato Farm

Gassandake bamboo shoots, with their soft white flesh, crunchy texture and rich flavor, are a type of bamboo shoot and blessings from the mountains that can be enjoyed during only a short period of early summer in Tsuruoka. We interviewed Mr. Toshikazu Sato, who is a representative of Sato Farm. He has been cultivating Gassandake bamboo shoots in the Toge, Haguro area for more than 20 years.

Mr. Toshikazu Sato

   The Gassandake bamboo, which is also known as Negamaridake bamboo or Chishimazasa bamboo is a type of alpine bamboo. This bamboo is mainly found in the mountainous areas near the coast of the Sea of Japan. Its range spreads from Hokkaido (the northern island of Japan), through the Tohoku region (the northeast part of Japan) and extensively in Tottori Prefecture in the west of Japan.

  “If you don’t take good care of Gassandake bamboos, you can’t have good ones,” said Mr. Sato.

  The Gassandake bamboo shoots that grow wild can be harvested in June, when the snow on Mt. Gassan starts to melt. Mr. Sato climbs up over the 9th station of Mt. Gassan to harvest them. Until then, the representative of Sato Farm works hard to ship the bamboo shoots in early May that have been cultivated in his grove at the first station of Mt. Gassan.

  Mr. Sato started Gassandake bamboo production more than 20 years ago, after obtaining five roots of Gassandake bamboo harvested on Mt. Gassan from then Haguro town that provided shoots to some of the farmers. But, it is just a last decade or so that Mr. Sato successfully managed to harvest the Gassandake bamboo shoots with a constant yield. It took several years for him to prepare a good soil, leave young good bamboos in the soil and spread the roots underneath his grove in order to cultivate the flavorful Gassandake bamboo shoots that grow wild, said Mr. Sato.