In spite of the harsh natural environment, which means lots of slopes instead of flatlands, in Iya Valley, agriculture has been prosperous since long ago.
To tell the truth, the people had to rely on it for being alive, rather than to make something.
On precipitous lands, essential nutrients for plant growth are washed away because of well-drained soil. The climate is also specific harsh in Iya.
The people in Iya have built houses with stone wall and established little fields through them. And also, they have maintained their lives for generations in spite of under harsh natural environment. As a result, they have produced strong, but simple taste crops in the field.
"Goshiimo" is something like a small potato which has been produced in the harsh natural environment in Iya. It is easy to cook and has a rich taste, because it is more likely to keep its shape even if Goshiimo is cooked by long-time heating.
For the people in Iya with lack of rice, "Goshiimo" is almost staple food and cooked in various dishes through the year instead.
It is true that they can get big potato easily, but they follow ancient people footsteps deeply.
Especially, "Hirarayaki, which grills "Goshiimo", fish, tofu, and seasonal vegetables with bean paste (miso) on a flat rock, is one of the dynamic local dishes in Iya.
The environment of Iya fits to grow "soba" field, not rice field. The "soba", which is high quality with fragrant and sweet taste, has been one of the representative agricultural products in Iya.
The features of soba are thick and short each. That is the reason why the people in Iya rarely use extra flour when they make soba.
They usually eat it not only as hot noodles, but also as soupy rice. In addition, they also eat as a "sobagakiu", which is mixed up with boiled water, and "sobasubeshi", which is also poured into soup. They are quite popular in Iya area.
Iya Valley is an ideal circumstance to grow tea, because it is very foggy morning and receives less sunlight than other areas.
Especially, the tea which is drunk in East Iya of Ochiai hamlet is considered coarse green tea with cloudy pale brown color. This coarse green tea is seldom sold in other areas except in Iya area because of self-sufficient.
Iya area is very mountainous region. As a result, people have been forced, not only to change how to grow crops, but also to improve the method of food preparation.
For example, a tofu, which is called "Iwadofu" in Iya area, is very tough.
They have made it with using the wisdom of ancient people so that it does not lose its shape easily in the transfer process on the mountain road.
"Dekomawashi" is one of the most characteristic dishes in Iya. To prepare it, thread tough "Iwadofu", small "Goshiimo" and "Konnyaku" (devil's tongue) onto skewers with spreading "Miso" around, and then grill round and round by sitting at irori (irori fireplace). It is named after "Deko doll" (which is a carved wooden marionette.)