On early autumn the banks of the Hiji River come to life at dusk, filled with locals gathering around campfires and hot pots. Imotaki, a savory taro stew, is prepared on the spot among friends, to congratulate for rice harvest and in order to enjoy the full moon. Drinking and merrymaking is also an important part of the celebration.
The Ozu basin is well-known for its succulent taros, nurtured by regular deposits of the river. Combining them with assorted ingredients (each family has its own recipe) in a stock rich with umami, a hearty outdoor dinner full of local flavours sees the light under starry skies.
The taste of this down-to-earth dish has been gaining adepts throughout Japan lately and it is now deeply associated with Ehime Prefecture.