Because seaweed isn’t the only thing you can wrap sushi in.

For wrapped varieties of sushi, the typical covering is a paper-thin layer of nori, or dried seaweed. But there’s a special type of sushi, called kaki no ha sushi, which instead wraps everything together with a leaf from a persimmon tree.

During most of the year, that means that kaki no ha sushi comes in deep green bundles. But come late autumn, if you stop by sushi shop Yamanobe in Nara Prefecture’s Sakurai City, you’ll find an array of dazzling red, orange, and yellow sushi as well.

Yamanobe sells nothing but persimmon leaf-wrapped sushi, with each leaf filled with vinegared rice and either salmon or saba (Japanese mackerel). While the business is housed in a small shop selling only take-away orders, Yamanobe has built up some impressive word of mouth, and even though we showed up before noon, there was already a line of customers, some who’d even come from outside the prefecture, waiting to buy the unique-looking sushi.

The sushi is sold in packs of 10, with all-mackerel packs the cheapest option at 1,300 yen (US$12). A pack of salmon only will set you back 1,600 yen, and a half-and-half bundle is 1,450 yen. While buying 10 pieces at a time can be a little intimidating for first-timers, the fact that Yamanobe’s sushi looks like nowhere else’s means it’s a great choice to pick up for picnics, home parties, or other gatherings since everyone in attendance is sure to want to try it for themselves.

Unlike nori-wrapped sushi, you’re not supposed to eat the persimmon leaf. Instead, you peel it off before taking a bite, revealing the rice and fish within.

▼ Salmon

▼ Mackerel

Yamanobe knows what it’s doing in the flavor department, too. The seasoning is the perfect mix of vinegar and salt, and the rice is a fluffy and tasty locally grown strain.

One word of caution, though. Between how beautiful its sushi looks and how small the shop is, Yamanobe can sometimes run out of sushi very quickly. Like we said, we rolled up before noon, and the 20 pieces we bought were the last of the day. So you’ll want to show up early to get yours, or, f it’s just too hard to pull yourself out of bed, order online from Yamanobe’s website here.

Shop information
Yamanobe / 山の辺
Address: Nara-ken, Sakurai-shi, Yamada 67602
Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Closed Tuesdays, second and third Wednesday of every month

Photos ©SoraNews24
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