Hebo Matsuri - Wasp and Larva Festival in Japan


The most dangerous festival in the world “Hebo Matsuri”Is held in Kushihara in the city of Ena, Gifu Prefecture, Japan, every year, on November 3. In it we find the peculiar dish of wasps and larvae called hachinoko.

Japanese people living in central areas of the country have been eating insects throughout history and this Festival “Hebo Matsuri”Is one of the few remaining insects. Everything happens in a place surrounded by hills and mountains on the border with Aichi Prefecture, close to the city of Nagoya.

At the Festival Hebo Matsuri you find for sale wasps and nests of the most vicious wasps in the world called kurosuzumebachi [くろすずめばち]. There you will find several dishes with insects like Tempura, sushi, takikomi gohan, kebab and yakitori.

Hebo matsuri - wasp and larvae festival in japan

It has been common for Japanese people living near mountainous areas to eat nuts and insects as a good source of protein for hundreds of years and for people to create festivals to honor the insects that sacrificed their lives for them.

Edible wasp nests sell for about 3,000 yen per kg or more. Some wasps are only edible after the 5th year of age, since larvae of 4 years or less are small, the cultivation process is difficult.

In addition to food, there is also a healthy competition for wasp cultivation. In a contest, a judge weighs the competitors' wasp nests, with the heaviest one taking home the main prize.

On TV the Hebo Matsuri is announced as Japan's Most Dangerous Festival. The chances of getting stung are pretty high, but in reality it's not as dangerous as mandarin wasps, unless you are allergic to bees.

Hebo matsuri - wasp and larvae festival in japan

Hachinoko - A dish of larvae and wasps

 Hachinoko is a specialty of Nagano Prefecture and Gifu, considered a delicacy during the fall. Depending on the region, the dishes may vary, but are usually made up of bee or wasp larvae. It can be served with gohan and accompany a serve.

Although strange, this delicacy is much appreciated and tasty by courageous tourists and locals who claim to have a sweet and crunchy flavor, as well as being rich in vitamins and proteins. The custom is believed to have arisen from scarcity in the past.

It is not necessary to wait for the Hebo Matsuri festival to try these delicacies. Just travel around the region and look for a place that prepares this type of exotic dish. Emperor Hirohito usually likes to eat fried wasps with soy sauce.

You can find several Hachinoko restaurants in Nagano, Tsukiji and mountain regions. If you want to know more about the dishes and festivals, let's finish the article by leaving some videos below:

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