How it’s Made

Shimikonnyaku is made from konnyaku, a jelly-like food made from the Konjac potato (AKA “Devil’s Tongue”).  It takes 20 days in the coldest winter season to dry the Konnyaku into shimi-kon.

Slices of fresh konnyaku jelly are payed out on the dry straw of a fallow rice paddy. Water is splashed on the shimi-kon  3 – 4 times a day. It then freezes naturally overnight night. With sun and more water, it melts again in the daytime. This repeated watering and drying allows the shimi-kon to freeze-dry more slowly, ensuring its light and pleasant texture. At the end of the three week period,  it becomes so light that it can be blown away by the wind! (Nets around the perimeter of the field catch would-be escapees.)

The result of the process is this naturally freeze-dried food product. It is a healthy food that is high in fiber and very low calorie.

Regional History:

In 1795 Mr. Kenji Kimura, a famous explorer from the Edo period,  brought the technology of producing Shimi-Kon to Kegano-cho in Hitachi- Ota from Tanba(currently part of Hyogo prefecture and Kyoto).  Mr. Kimura was born and raised in Kegano-cho Hitachi Ota.   Kegano-cho and Tanba had similar climates in which to make Shimi-kon. There were many poor farmers during this period and jobs were scarce in the winter. For that reason, Mr. Kenji relocated and made jobs for them in the winter producing shimi-kon.