Harvesting of Gassan bamboo shoots begins when the snow-capped peak of Mt. Gassan gradually starts to melt in June. On Mt. Gassan, there are particular places where only locals are allowed to harvest. We traveled together with Mr. Sato to the site and experienced a Gassan bamboo shoot harvest.
“Are you sure you really want to come with me? You can’t come with such an indecisive mind,” confirmed Mr. Sato repeatedly when we asked to cover the harvesting of Gassan bamboo shoots.
We departed his work house at five in the morning. Mr. Sato usually heads for the site before four o’clock. We drove up to the fourth station and rode a motorcycle from the fourth station to the eighth station, where the road is not open to the public yet. From the eighth station, we finally walk up the mountain to the harvesting site. Crossing a snowy gorge following it down the mountain to a stream, then going up again to the mountain ridge and again going down to the stream. It was a laborious repetition of going up and down the mountain.
According to Mr. Sato, no one simply knows when Gassan bamboo shoots started to be affectionately called as it is today and to be used as an ingredient. It is believed that the ingredient had been most frequently used when the Three Mountains of Dewa were at the peak of prosperity during the Edo Period.