Miketsukuni: beautifully prepared comfort food
Obama, located on the coast of the Sea of Japan, in the very middle of the Japanese archipelago, has strong ties to the Chinese Mainland and the Korean Peninsula, as well as the capital city of Kyoto, and is a cultural city with over 130 temples remaining. It is also home to many religious festivals and public performances that are handed down for generations. Wakasa has a long and ancient history.
The Wakasa region facing Wakasa Bay, blessed as it is with riches of the sea, played an important role since the Nara Period as "Miketsukuni", the region responsible for sending "Minie" or food to the Imperial Household.
In the Heian Period, it became a strategic location for maritime traffic, and countless cultural products flowed in over the sea from Mainland China, the Korean Peninsula, and from across Japan, linking Obama and the capital (Kyoto) together.
At the time, marine products were sent over countless roads called the "Sabakaidou(Mackerel highway)" (see the Saba Kaido Shiryokan) to the capital, and the latest culture was carried back from Kyoto, bringing prosperity to Obama.
Countless Buddhist sculptures from the Heian Period and temples built in the Kamakura Period remain in Obama, and the town is also known as a "treasure trove of cultural properties" (List of cultural properties in Obama). Many statues of the eleven-faced Goddess of Mercy "Kannon" remain in the Wakasa Region, including Obama. This shows a relationship with esoteric faiths, as nobles of the Heian Period were deeply devoted to the Tendai School and Shingon School of Buddhism, and suggests a deep relationship with the capital. Myōtsū-ji temple in Obama was built in the Kamakura Period, and its main hall and three-storied pagoda are designated national treasures.
In the year 1408, in the early Muromachi Period, western ships bearing elephants, ostriches, and other rare animals as gifts to the Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu entered port in Obama, which had long continued to develop as a base for foreign trade.
The feudal lord of Obama changed several times from the Warring States Period to the Edo Period. But in the time of Tokugawa Iemitsu, who was the third shogun of the Tokugawa Shogunate, Sakai Tadakatsu, a member of the shogun's council of elders, became lord of Obama. Under the rule of the Sakai Clan, the castle town of Obama prospered as the central city of the Wakasa Region, until the end of the Shogunate in the 19th century. The prosperity of Obama at this time can be understood through the "Obama Gion Taisai", a great festival held at Hiromine Jinja.
Miketsukuni and Wakasa Obama have a colorful, varied history and culture, which continue to fascinate people to this very day.