Celebrating its 45th anniversary, the annual Ofunato Gourmet Festival opened in front of JR Ofunato Station on Saturday.
This year’s festival, first organized by the Ofunato Junior Chamber Association to showcase famous local cuisines, offered visitors a unique opportunity to enjoy good food and engage with the community of Ofunato, one of many areas that was hard hit by the Great East Japan Earthquake Disaster in 2011.
Visitors enjoyed an array of tastes from all over northeastern Japan. A total of 25 stalls set up shop representing cities within Iwate Prefecture, including Rikuzen Takata, Sumita, Kamaishi and Otsuchi, as well as areas in Akita, Kanagawa, Niigata and Hokkaido prefectures.
A much anticipated mosaic art piece called “Fukkou Mirai-zu” - literally, “future recovery” - was also unveiled at the festival.The mosaic consists of approximately 1,600 drawings created by the children of Ofunato Elementary School and then later condensed into one uniform art piece.
“By promoting dishes made from the local sea life, we hope to continue to strengthen bonds to the community,” said Junior Chamber Association Director Shuwa Hamamori. “The smiling faces of our children are the ultimate motivation for supporting the relief effort and creating the mosaic,” he added.