The entertainment venue that existed during the Edo period has been revived after 200 years.
In the area of Mikuni, which flourished as a port of call for Kitamaebune ships in the past, there is a place called “Mikuni Hermitage” where Kitamaebune sailors, local fishermen, and people from the region are said to have gathered, talked, and enjoyed themselves. Mikuni Hermitage has been owned by our store for five generations since its founding. It is said that after Ito Goemon, who served as the village headman, played an active role, he opened the residence to the people.
Origin of the name
Retreat” to “Hermitage
Our shop has a deep connection to SEKKO NAKANE, who served as an educator and strategist to the 16th lord of the Fukui Domain, Harutaka MATSUDAIRA. In his later years, NAKANE built a hidden residence (hermitage) in Susa-Ura, which is related to our shop. His hermitage was built for him to retire after being implicated in the Ansei Purge along with Harutaka MATSUDAIRA. NAKANE, who loved the sea and fishing, used objects around him with fish engravings, indicating his passion for fish. He intended to use his hermitage as a place for writing activities to record the political situation of the time. However, from the stage before the establishment of the Meiji government, he received strong recommendations from Ryoma Sakamoto, and on February 9, 1867, he was summoned to Tokyo (to serve) as an official for the Meiji government, as a bureaucrat and judge for the Ministry of the Interior.
And so, Yukie had to leave her villa. She entrusted the management of the villa to her friend and landowner, Gouemon Ito, who was delighted with Yukie’s accomplishments and readily agreed. Shortly thereafter, at the time of the spread of railways, the villa and land were sold, but the Ito estate, which had been managing it, came to be called “Inkyojo” by the locals, and it became the name of the current store. Later, in 2017, the descendants of Gouemon built an inn with the name “Inkyojo” following in the footsteps of the store name. The last character of “jo” in “Inkyojo” was changed from a character meaning simply “place” to a character with spatial and temporal connotations, “sho,” and the name was written as “Inkyosho” pronounced as “inkyoyo.” In 2022, after passing through our family’s hands once, the former site of the SEKKO NAKANE villa, which had been left behind, returned to our family once again, thanks to various miraculous connections and the efforts of the local residents. From now on, we hope to work together with all of you who support us to pass on the history and culture of the late Edo period and Kitamae ships that remain in the town, including the site of the SEKKO NAKANE villa, to the next generation.
Mikuni Port of Santsu-shichisou
The port of call for Kitamae-bune ships, Mikuni Minato.
Long ago, there were large trading ships known as “Kitamae-bune” that transported various food and goods across the country, sailing around the Sea of Japan in hopes of striking it rich. Among the Sea of Japan routes, the port of Mikuni was the largest and most prosperous, located just a short distance from our store.
Santsu-shichisou is one of Japan’s ports that has thrived in the shipping industry since ancient times, with its name listed in the oldest Japanese maritime regulations, “Kaishuiki” created in the Muromachi period. The town was formed from its rich topography and even now retains unique local history and culture, with various activities being carried out to pass them on to future generations.Our store also incorporates the history of the Kitamae-bune (northern sea shipping) and the region’s abundant natural resources, such as ingredients, into our operations. We play a part in preserving and utilizing the town’s valuable treasures.
A new approach to learn through eating
We will promote and preserve the history and culture of the Kitamaebune, the famous merchant ships that sailed the Sea of Japan in ancient times, through our Echizen Kitamae cuisine.
At our restaurant, we participate in the “Echizen Kitamae Cuisine Project (Certified by the Agency for Cultural Affairs),” which allows people to learn about the history and culture of the Kitamae ships through food. Echizen Kitamae Cuisine is not a traditional cuisine, but a new category of food that aims to pass on history and culture through food.
In order to be certified as Echizen Kitamae cuisine, it is necessary to meet multiple criteria. Participating restaurants are required to research the history and culture of Kitamae ships in order to inherit their traditions, and furthermore, they must express and provide them through their dishes.By participating in the Echizen Kitamae Cuisine Project (Certified by the Agency for Cultural Affairs), we aim to contribute to the dissemination and inheritance of the history and culture of Kitamae ships through food. We strive to improve ourselves every day towards this goal.
History leading up to becoming a hermitage
Retreat of mikuni
Long ago, people probably also searched for a retreat to heal their hearts and bodies, just like people do today. Our store came to be called “Inkyojo” (retreat) during the time of the 5th generation Ito Goemon, counting from the first year of Tenmei (1781).
At the “Inkyojo”, sailors and villagers from the North Sea ships who traveled throughout the country gathered, eventually becoming a “place of relaxation.” Gradually, due to its comfortable atmosphere, some people began to stay overnight instead of returning home. During the Meiji and Taisho periods, a simple lodging called “Seifu-tei” was established, and from the Showa to Heisei period, it was operated as a ryokan called “Ito Ryokan.” However, due to the aging of the building, it had been closed for a long time since 2005. In order to create a new and vibrant town, based on the history, culture, and stories of that time, the 11th generation decided to rebuild the inn, and it has now been reopened.
Anecdotes involving the MATSUDAIRA family, the lords of the Fukui Domain
Hospitality cuisine served by villagers to lords. The secret story of the birth of boat-shaped sushi.
The history of Funamori can be traced back to when the 16th lord of the Fukui Domain, MATSUDAIRA SHUNGAKU, was forced to retire due to the Ansei Purge. After retiring, his first priority was to choose his successor as he did not have a legitimate heir. The prompt decision on the successor was necessary due to its impact on the domain’s governance.
By adopting MOCHIAKI as a son with a blood relationship, it became necessary to prepare a welcoming dish for the lord of the Itouigawa domain to visit Echizen. The local people were nervous at that time, and Itou Gouemon, who was the headman, needed to balance simplicity and luxury even in the cuisine. Therefore, the local villagers put their heads together and invented a dish called “Ganso Funamori” (the original boat-shaped dish), in which fish was arranged on a wooden boat-shaped dish made by Yamazaki Jinbei, a ship carpenter for the Kitamae ships. The dish’s splendid appearance became a topic of conversation, and it began to be served at local celebrations and other occasions. The dish gradually became available at Guest house and ryokans and is said to have spread throughout the country.
Anecdotes involving SEKKO NAKANE
Days of fishing bliss at Mikuni Port pier, where I enjoyed fishing to my heart’s content. The secret story of developing a sea fishing experience class.
SEKKO NAKANE served as the educator of Kokugaku (Japanese classical studies) to MATSUDAIRA SHUNGAKU, who became the 16th lord of the Fukui domain at the age of 11. After that, she became an advisor to SHUNGAKU who advanced to the shogunate’s political affairs. In 1853, when the American fleet led by Perry arrived to request trade, she advised SHUNGAKU, who was an opponent of foreign influence, to open the country. Later, due to the Ansei Purge, both SHUNGAKU and SEKKO were forced to resign from their positions.
After the first year of the Man’en era (1860), Yukiie NAKANE retired to a villa in Shukuura, Mikuni-cho, Fukui Prefecture. There, he deepened his friendship with his friends Katsu Kaishu and Ito Goemon and enjoyed fishing at the Mikuni Port Pier in his later years, spending his days fishing on clear days and reading on rainy ones. He also engaged in literary activities, writing books such as “Saimu Kiji,” “Teibo Nisshi,” “Boshin Nisshi,” and “Hoto Kiji,” which vividly described the political situation at the time. Later, in May 1863, SEKKO was asked to meet with RYOMA SAKAMOTO at the Echizen Clan’s residence in Kyoto and come to Tokyo, but he opposed it because the timing was not right. He later joined the newly established Meiji government as a conscription participant and a judge in the Internal Affairs Bureau, and moved away from Fukui Prefecture. He entrusted the management of his villa to his friend and village headman, Ito Goemon. At our store, based on the episodes of Yukiie Nakane’s late-life fishing, we have planned and developed a “sea fishing experience class” as one of the ways to enjoy tourism, and are actively promoting it.