Takko is the southern-most town of Aomori. It is located at the base of the Ou Mountains, and bordered by the prefectures of Akita and Iwate to its west and south. The town is made up of roughly 6,000 people, around 80% of it is covered with forest, and it is rich in water sources. All of these factors contributed to the development of its most famous product: Garlic. Garlic production started in Takko back in 1962, and it now boasts the production of 80% of Japan domestically produced garlic. It is from this enormous feat and the famous quality of the garlic itself that Takko town is now known the country as the ‘Town of Garlic’.
The town has great pride in both the quantity and quality of its garlic, but it takes greater pride in having achieved its goal of its garlic becoming a truly top-class product, a feat that took the coordination and cooperation of enormous amount of people. Due to Takko towns position at the base of the Ou mountains, a range of volcanic mountain clusters, its fields are filled with volcanic ash soil which is ill suited to growing vegetables. During that time many farmers had to work away from the are to make a living. Thus the first step to begin producing garlic in the area was to fix the soil. Through trial and error, and utilization of the large amounts of barnyard manure available, the soil in the area was greatly improved. Furthermore, Takko is located in a natural basin geographical area, and typical of this land formation it experience drastic temperature differences between the night and day, and between the summertime during which it can reach up to highs of 37 degrees C and wintertime when it can reach lows up down to negative 20 degrees C. Through the use of organic fertilizer and the extreme temperature differences which increase the sugar content of the garlic, Takko was able to produce large, perfectly white bulbs of garlic. The representative garlic breed from Takko is the ‘Fukuchi White 6 Cloves’. From Mid-September to Mid-October, cloves of garlic used as seed are planted and then harvested during the following years late-June early July harvest period. Because the seedlings spend the winter deep in the soil covered with snow, the extreme cold they experience is said to reduce the spiciness of the garlic and develop its sweetness.
Takko Town’s Garlic Steak & Rice
Takko Town is one of Japan’s most famous garlic growing areas, and one dish being made in the town has started to attract a lot of attention: Garlic Steak. Takko Town’s Garlic Steak combines three of the town’s best products: Beef, Garlic, and Rice, to create an absolutely luxurious, hearty, deliciously mouthwatering dish that is the lunch dish of the area. To fully enjoy this dish, it is recommended to really lean into the garlic flavors, and enjoy all of the garlic products Takko has to offer from start to finish. The set begins with a apartife of garlic cola, followed by 9 different mini side dishes that use garlic in different ways. Then comes the main course of Garlic steak sushi and miso soup, and ends with a dessert of garlic ice-cream. After finishing such a delectable but heavily garlic featured course, visitors a given special breath refreshing gummies upon leaving, to ensure you walk out of the restaurant with fresh breath.
There are currently (as of Jan 2019) 3 restaurants that feature Takko Town’s Garlic steak, so please take advantage of this amazing dish during your trip to Takko!