Diving Deeper

Tsuwano Imoni Soup


Imoni or Japanese Taro Soup

Imoni (芋煮), is a type of soup that consists of satoimo (Colocasia esculenta or Japanese taro, a root vegetable) and various ingredients. The soup varies depending on ingredients available in each region. Tsuwano Imoni is a significant dish and is one of Japan’s three greatest imoni soup.


The imoni is depicted in the drawing of a celebration at Shorinzan Tenmangu Shrine (松林山天満宮の奉納額) from 1849. This shows that the imoni has been an important local dish since the Edo period. The celebration is held in autumn and the locals gather to celebrate another fruitful year of harvest. Eating imoni has served as a means to strengthen bonds in the community as locals gather to have imoni, enjoy the scenery and communicate with one another.


The imoni in Tsuwano is a famous local cuisine that uses tai (sea bream) and kombu (kelp) as its key ingredients for the soup broth. The imoni in Tsuwano has a simple flavor, using local satoimo cultivated in Sasayama area, located at the foot of Mt.Aono. Locals believe the fertile land from the volcano ashes served as nutrients for the satoimo which makes it rich in its flavor, viscosity and a smooth texture.


The Imoni and Sake festival held on the 3rd Sunday of October annually is a festival where chefs in Tsuwano make the imoni soup and the public gather to have imoni and sake. It is a successful festival that will be held for the 33rd time this year.

Each year, roughly 200kg of satoimo and 10kg of dried sea bream are used to make 2,000 portions of imoni. The satoimo is prepared by scrubbing the dirt, peeling the skin and cleaning the surface. Kelp is boiled in pot to create the soup stock where satoimo is added and cooked under low fire. Salted sea bream is grilled for 20minutes carefully placed in a pot and steamed with sake for 2-3minutes. The satoimo and soup stock is added into the pot of sea bream, light-flavoured soy sauce is added and left to simmer for 20minutes. Sea bream is loosen into small pieces and placed in a bowl, satoimo and the soup is added and garnished with yuzu (Japanese citron) to serve. 

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