Masu-zushi pressed-trout sushi is a specialty of Toyama Prefecture. This unique sushi dates from the Edo period (1603- 1867), and was once presented as formal tribute to the shogunate in old Edo (Tokyo) by Toyama feudal lords.
Masu-zushi was originally made with cherry trout from the Jinzu River, which runs through the prefecture. It is prepared by lining a magewappa, a round wooden box with a lid, with fresh bamboo leaves. A layer of vinegared rice is spread over these, and topped with thin slices of trout that have been salted, preserved and vinegared; the long green leaves are then carefully folded over the fish. After covering with the lid, a heavy stone is set on top for several hours. The leaves’ bactericidal properties, along with salt, vinegar and pressing, embody traditional food-preservation skills. Diners can explore different varieties of texture and taste at Toyama’s various restaurants, souvenir shops and train stations, many of which boast their own special masu-zushi recipe.