Kakinoha sushi is a local dish in Nara, which is a pressed sushi wrapped with a persimmon leaf so that it infuses the sushi with a bit of the sweet aroma!
The texture is less soft than the typical Nigiri sushi as Kakinoha sushi is a pressed sushi so it is more satisfying.
Kakinoha sushi originally comes with cured mackerel, but salmon is also popular. Recently there are more kinds of fish to choose, like sea bream, prawn and so on.
How to eat Kakinoha Sushi
You can simply unwrap the persimmon leaf and eat Kakinoha sushi only. The persimmon leaf is usually not eaten. But some of the sushi shops say the leaf is edible, I have never tried it though!
History of Kakinoha Sushi
It is said that Kakinoha Sushi was originated in Edo era. Nara is not surrounded by ocean so fishes were very valuable when the logistics were not well established.
Merchants from Kumano in Wakayama located close to the sea came to Nara to sell mackerel. The mackerel was cured to keep it from going off.
The cured mackerel bought in Nara was sliced and put with rice as it was too salty to eat, and wraped with a persimmon leaf to prevent the sushi from spoiling since the leaf has antibacterial activity and Nara is famous for persimmon. This is the beginning of Kakinoha sushi!
Kakinoha Sushi or Zushi?
It pronounces Kakinoha Sushi or Zushi. Both are correct since well known companies producing Kakinoha sushi use both names for their products.
Where to eat
There are several well known shops for Kakinoha sushi. These shops have more than 10 branches in Nara so you can easily find their products when coming to Nara↓
Kakinohasushi Hompo Tanaka (Japanese website only)
Kakinohazushi Yamato (Japanese website only)
Kakinoha sushi is also sold at train stations and department stores not only in Nara, but also in Osaka, Kyoto and so on.