Around the 16th century, distilled liquor believed to have been brought over to Iki from China was adapted with the island’s own distilling methods to create barley shochu. For this reason, Iki is said to be the birthplace of barley shochu. In 1995, Iki Shochu was given protection as a geographical indication by the World Trade Organization (WTO), joining the ranks of the world’s most famous brands of alcoholic beverages. Iki has seven shochu distilleries, all of which produce their own, unique shochu, while upholding the ratio of 2 parts barley to 1 part rice koji (koji is made by mixing steamed rice with mold used for fermentation).
Taishu soba (buckwheat) is said to have brought to Tsushima from the Chinese continent via the Korean peninsula in the Late Jomon period. It is characterized by its small grain and strong flavor. Today, in an age when buckwheat varieties have undergone much improvement over the years, the Taishu soba grown in Tsushima, which is close to the original strain brought over from the continent, is very precious. Its small grain and strong, unique flavor are greatly appreciated by its many fans. There are three places on the island that offer a hands-on experience of making soba noodles.
Goto udon noodles are said to have been brought from the continent by the Japanese diplomatic missions to Tang China. They are thin, firm noodles, characterized by the use of camelia oil, which is a specialty of the Goto Islands. They are feted as one of Japan’s three best udon noodle varieties, and have even been called “phantom noodles” as they are so hard to come by. A hands-on experience of making udon noodles can be had in the Funasaki district of Shin-Kamigoto Town, said to be the birthplace of Goto Udon noodles.