In the middle of Ibaraki prefecture, there is a city called Naka city that produces the most dried sweet potatoes in Japan.

In Japan, dried sweet potato is loved by people of different generations like from kids to elderly people. Dried sweet potatoes first appeared in a different place, Shizuoka prefecture. At that time they did not grow sweet potatoes there. After a guy named Gonemon Osawa saved a lost ship from Satuma domain, which is Kagoshima prefecture now, sweet potatoes were brought into Shizuoka prefecture and then people started growing them.

There was a man that came up with a new idea how to dry sweet potatoes. It is said that his idea was from soft sweet potatoes he saw somewhere in Shizuoka prefecture. That is how dried sweet potatoes started. There are many characteristics of it, such as you can eat it anytime, keep it forever, it is kind of sweet and it fills up your stomach in no time. These many factors led it to Kanto region. Then another guy who tasted dried sweet potatoes in Shizuoka prefecture started making dried sweet potatoes in Ibaraki prefecture too. Thanks to the geographic characteristic of the place, such as Ibaraki prefecture is located along the ocean, strong winds come from the ocean in the winter. People use it to dry sweet potatoes in the process. That is why in general it can be produced from November to the middle of March. Since the process of making dried sweet potatoes are simple, they are made at home as well and the view of sweet potatoes hung on outside their house is a symbol of winter season. The way of making dried sweet potatoes born at that time is still alive today and many producers are still using it.

Back to the story. In Naka city, you can see many sweet potato fields left and right. What’s more, there is a dried sweet potato specialty shop. It is called Daimaruya. The big monuments of a dragon and slice of sweet potatoes are waiting for you.

Inside you can see many different kinds of dried sweet potatoes made by various kinds of sweet potatoes. All the ones are made in Daimaruya. I hope you can find the best one. Please leave comments if you visit and find your favorite one.

We got them at Daimaruya.
This is a whale named Dai-chan. It is a mascot of the city. They say it’s going to leave and get into the sea in summer.

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