Nagano Prefecture stands as the largest miso producer in Japan. From wines to sake to pickles, it also produces a great variety of other fermented goods. Traditionally, residents have practiced varied diets including both many vegetables and fermented foods. As a result, Nagano Prefecture boasts one of the highest average life expectancies in Japan. We aim to continue to support the healthiness and longevity of residents through the development of the fermented food industry.
While fermentation and decomposition are similar processes, their end results are quite different. In both cases, microbes and bacteria work to change foods. However, when those microbes and bacteria cause foods to spoil and produce effects harmful to the human body, the process is known as “decomposition.” When microbes and bacteria combine with foods to produce new nutrients, the process is “fermentation.” Fermented foods are capable of being stored for long periods. In addition, fermented foods can contain increased nutritional value, aid digestion, and help improve the intestinal environment. Fermentation also boasts flavor benefits, helping bring out the umami and natural tastes of foods.
Surrounded by mountains, landlocked, and snow-bound in winter, families in Nagano Prefecture have long relied on miso, soy sauce, pickles, sake, and other storable foods and beverages, cultivating fermentation as part of their culture. Nagano Prefecture’s fermented food industry developed from these traditions. People soak vegetables in salt, enabling them to eat them in winter. They enjoy fermented liquor and frequently eat fermented and processed beans in place of meat in dishes. A healthy diet of fermented foods, rooted in lifestyle, underpins the long life expectancy of Nagano Prefecture.
In pursuit of further health and longevity, Nagano Prefecture announces its intent to be the Prefecture of Fermentation and Longevity. Fermentation lies at the heart of this statement.