Japan consists of 47 prefectures. The characteristics of each prefecture, such as the cityscape and gourmet food, vary greatly. Also, as the Japanese word "県民性" (Kenminsei, literally "the characteristics of prefectural citizens") exists, the characters of the residents differ depending on the prefecture.
Knowing the characteristics of each prefecture may be useful in deciding where to go for your next trip to Japan. Here in FUN! JAPAN, we will tell you the "unknown side" of each of the 47 prefectures in the series, and this time we will be introducing Ishikawa Prefecture!
A must-have item is: an umbrella
If you plan to travel to Ishikawa, don't forget to carry an umbrella. This is because Ishikawa Prefecture has many rainy days for a given year.
According to the statistics of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (as of 2020), Ishikawa Prefecture has the highest number of rainy days in a year, and 194 out of 365 days were rainy days. By the way, in Japan, the day when rainfall of 10 mm or more is observed is defined as "rainy day" (雨の日 / ame no hi).
In Ishikawa Prefecture, where the rainy days occupy more than half of the year, there is even a saying, "Even if you forget your lunch box, don't ever forget your umbrella". In other words, forgetting an umbrella is more troublesome than forgetting to bring lunch to work or school.
This saying may sound a little exaggerated, but in Ishikawa, where it doesn't seem to be strange if the rain starts at any given moment, an umbrella is really THAT important.
According to the Kanazawa Local Meteorological Office, Ishikawa has the highest number of lightning bolts observed in a year in Japan. When you visit Ishikawa, it's always a good idea to constantly pay attention to the weather.
Many women with beautiful skin
Anyhow, it seems that having many rainy days is not always a bad thing. Moisture from the rain can have a positive effect on the beauty of the skin.
Every year, Japanese cosmetics maker POLA Cosmetics announces the "POLA Apex Nippon Bihada-Ken Grand Prix" (Beautiful Skin Prefecture Grand Pix), which surveys the beauty of women's skin by prefecture. In the latest (2021) ranking, Ishikawa Prefecture won the first place.
It is said that the skin of Ishikawa citizens had the highest amount of "moisture contained in the skin", which is an element of "beautiful skin", in the whole country. It may be related to the amount of rainy days = the amount of humidity.
The love for curry is No.1 in Japan!?
Since Ishikawa Prefecture is located along the Sea of Japan, it is famous for its delicious seafood such as crab dishes and sushi. However, the gourmet that the people of Ishikawa love may be curry rather than seafood.
According to a survey *, Ishikawa Prefecture has 6.28 curry restaurants per 100,000 population, which is the highest number in Japan. Compared to Hokkaido (4.96 restaurants per 100,000 population) in 2nd place and Tokyo (3.67 restaurants) in 3rd place, you can see that there are overwhelmingly high number of curry restaurants.
* From the Town Page Database (NTT East / NTT West)
The curry served in and around Kanazawa is called "Kanazawa Curry". There is no strict definition for Kanazawa curry, but in general, it is characterized by "the roux is rich and dull" and "the cutlet with sauce is on top of the curry".
And, speaking of the restaurant that represents Kanazawa curry, it is the "Champion Curry". "Champion's Curry", which manages the Champion Curry restaurant chains, has a history of more than 60 years since its establishment and is known as the originator of Kanazawa curry. The popular menu of the Champion Curry is "L Cutlet Curry" (Lカツカレー / L Katsu Kare) with thick pork cutlet on top of the curry, and shredded cabbage is arranged next to the cutlet.
Curry Champions have many restaurants not only in Ishikawa prefecture but also in Tokyo and Kyoto, so even if you don't plan to go to Ishikawa prefecture, be sure stop by when you go to Tokyo or Kyoto.
Children's academic ability is No.1 in Japan
The Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan conducts academic ability tests (national language and mathematics) for sixth graders of elementary schools and third graders of junior high school every year. Looking at the results of the academic ability test conducted in 2021 by prefecture, Ishikawa Prefecture ranked first in both the sixth graders of elementary school and the third graders of junior high school.
In Ishikawa Prefecture, teachers are working with researchers at Kanazawa University to analyze children's academic ability, and it is possible that such measures have led to high academic ability.
They eat "koke" (moss)!?
In Japanese language, "コケ" (Koke) generally refers to green plants (= moss) that grow on stones.
However, in the Ishikawa dialect, "koke" means "mushroom".
In other words, when a person in Ishikawa says "I want to eat 'koke'", it means "I want to eat mushrooms". When someone who doesn't know this dialect hears it, they may be surprised and say, "Do you eat moss!?"
Proud of the deliciousness of the food
A survey on prefectural characteristics of 47 prefectures conducted by Sony Life (2021) revealed that Ishikawa citizens are proud of Ishikawa's gourmet food.
According to the survey report, when asked "Do you brag about the food in your prefecture?", 64% of Ishikawa residents answered "Yes". This is higher than Hokkaido (63%), which has a lot of delicious gourmet food, and is the highest ratio in 47 prefectures.
From seafood to Kanazawa Curry, Ishikawa Prefecture is the place where eveerything you eat is delicious. It may be natural for the citizens of the prefecture to be proud of Ishikawa's gourmet food.