Tales of my Tongari town
vol.8 A story of how the kelp gets to you
「Tales of my Tongari town」
n 2019, we started the project “Team Tongari” in collaboration with Tongari Road Wide-area Cooperation Council and Hokkaido Camera Girls’ Association.
Team Tongari has been working on a project to promote the charms of Urakawa, Samani, Erimo, and Hiroo through photography and words to supplement.
“Team Tongari” was initiated by a group of camera-loving local girls.
23 women living in Tongari Road area have been taking photographs while rediscovering the beauty of their hometowns.
As the next series of “Tongari Cuisine Blog”, “Tales of my Tongari town” is a new series of reports about the team’s recent discoveries of local gems of Tongari Road.
A story of how the kelp gets to you
In the town of Erimo, kelp fishing operations are undertaken from July to late September.
The weather plays a very important role in kelp fishing operations.
There are fishermen called “Hatamoto” who decide the kelp harvesting in each territory. Hatamoto judges the kelp harvesting of the day based on the weather forecast and their own intuition. Once the harvesting is decided for the day, all of the kelp harvesting boats leave the port at once as if they are in a race.
Due to the sun-drying process of the kelp, it is very important to predict the weather for the day, and sometimes sudden rain can still strike. In some areas, two-person teams are also being formed.
The kelp is wrapped with an L-shaped hook attached to the end of a 3-meter long stick, and then wrapped around their arms to pull it out. The longest piece of kelp can be more than 10 meters long.
The kelp that has been brought in is transported to the drying area by crane at the port, and with their backs to the wind, the part-time workers, the okamari-san, dry the kelp on the beach.
Even the kids help out in the morning until they leave for school or daycare.
The dried kelp is then collected in bundles, cut and sorted one by one, and shipped to be sold. Be sure to try Erimo’s kelp when you visit!
Website（Hokkaido Erimo Town Sightseeing Navi)
Where to buy and taste the Kelp in Erimo
HITOMI.Y （Erimo/Team Tongari）
I was born and raised in Erimo. I have been mainly photographing the fishermen of Erimo, the flora and fauna of Erimo National Park in the Hidaka Mountains, and children’s sports. Erimo is home to the emerald green heart lake Toyonikoko, and is the most pointy town on the Tongari Road. I would also like to introduce the Erimo’s fresh seafood and other delicacies from the sea and mountains. I’m confident in my physical strength, so I’ll use my nimble footwork to share the wonderful moments of Erimo with you.
The location information is also available on Google Map as “Tales of my Tongari town”!
Team Tongari will continue to publish this “Tales of my Tongari town”.
We’ll be updating this regularly from now on, so stay tuned!
▼Hokkaido Camera Girls’ Association Website https://hokkaido-camera.com/