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2 Eating Habits

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Ainu History and Culture

1●Ainu People
2●Eating Habits
3●Wild Vegetable
10●Religion/"Sending Spirits Back"
11●Life of the Ainu
12●Sacred Dances
13●Oral Literature
15●Ainu Museum


The Ainu stored in storehouses called "pu" most of the foods obtained by fishing, hunting, gathering wild vegetables, agriculture and other activities so that they could survive the winter or famines.

Animal meat, such as of bear and deer, was boiled in pots, dried in the sun, further dried and smoked on racks above a fireplace indoors. Smoked meat was wrapped with birch bark in bundles and put in storehouses.

Fish, such as salmon and trout, were unheaded, halved lengthwise along the backbone, and smoked as was the animal meat and put in storehouses. Salmon which had spawned and became unfatty were used for smoking. As trout were very fatty and apt to spoil, they were grilled and dried.

Dried salmon

Wild plants and agricultural products were dried in the sun or boiled and dried to be put in storehouses. Ubayuri (a lily) bulbs pounded in a mortar were soaked in w ater to obtain starch. This starch was dried for storage. Sometimes it was dried outdoors in pairs of disc-like dumplings, one made from starch and the other from its residues, then hung indoors for storage.


Animal meat was cooked in pots to make soup. The Ainu rarely ate raw meat. However, they ate sliced raw internal organs of bear and deer. The Ainu ate grilled fish on skewers. Dried fish was cooked to make soup. They also ate frozen salmon in winter.

As for wild plants, the Ainu ate fruits raw. They ate meat or fish soups with stalks, Ieaves, roots or greens. They also ate porridge and rice mixed with these wild plants.


The staple of the Ainu diet was a soup called "0haw" or "rur." A side dish was "sayo" (porridge) . Ohaw was divided into various shapes depending on ingredients : "kam ohaw"(meat soup ), "pukusa ohaw" (garlic soup) , and "pukusakina ohaw " (anemone soup) .

Sayo was a gruel of grain simmered in pots. Sayo was also divided into various shapes depending on ingredients : "piyapa sayo " (barnyard grass soup) and "munchiro sayo" (millet soup) . Besides the aforementioned foods, the Ainu diet included boiled wild plants and vegetables called "ratashkep" and ceremonial dishes of cooked grain.

These meals were seasoned with animal or fish fat, salt and other spices. However, such spices as soybean paste and soy sauce were not used.


dried salmon


ubayuri (lily)


ohaw (soup)




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