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北海道・和寒を訪ねて(前編) 〜寒さを耐え抜くキャベツと北海道の人

Visiting Wassamu, Hokkaido (Part 1) ~ Cabbage and the people of Hokkaido who survive the cold

In October 2019, the fruitful autumn, I visited Hokkaido.
The place we visited was Washitsu Town in Hokkaido.

The town is located 36km north of Asahikawa and has a population of just 3,400.

Washi's main industry is agriculture.
The season we visited was the harvest season.
Many crops were ready for harvest, including cabbage, sugar beets, rice, buckwheat, wheat, and pumpkins.

Washi is one of the coldest places in Hokkaido.
The lowest temperature in midwinter is -30℃, and even during the day it only drops to around -15℃.

"Hibernating cabbage," which takes advantage of the cold weather, is also famous.
This refers to cabbage that, once harvested, spends the winter in the snow, which can be thought of as a natural refrigerator.
The longer it is left in the snow, the higher the sugar content will become, and it will grow into a juicy, sweet cabbage.

This is pre-harvest cabbage that has spent the winter in the snow.
The leaves are a faint purple colour reflecting the setting sun.
The sparkling light from the fruit seemed to give me energy to get through the winter.

This town is covered in snow in winter, and there is a ski resort overlooking the city.
As dusk falls, night skiing begins, illuminating the pitch-black town at the ski resort.
In the summer, trail running competitions are held here and the town becomes lively with many people attending.

I realized that there are many people in Hokkaido who accept nature as it is, and enjoy it by devising ways of living that are suited to their location and season.
I'm sure you'll find a luxurious and happy time here that you just can't find in the city.

When I visited in October, it was harvest time for pumpkins, the symbol of Wassamu.
Next, I would like to talk about the "pumpkin seeds" that I encountered in Washiba, which will shape our future.

>>To the second part
Visiting Wassamu, Hokkaido - Pumpkin seeds from the "pumpkin town" that will shape the future

Photo by Jun Watanabe

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