The making of ‘satcep’ – traditional Ainu whole-dried salmon – begins

Upopoy staff members hanging the salmon on the drying frames to make satcep

On December 13, the Ainu began making ‘satcep’ (dried whole salmon), a traditional preserved food of the indigenous people, at the Upopoy National Ainu Museum and Park, a hub for the revitalization of Ainu culture in the town of Shiraoi in central Hokkaido. 

The making of satcep is an Ainu winter tradition, and this is the second time in two years the process has been held at Upopoy.

On the day the work began, 13 staff members participated in the washing of approximately 130 salted salmon that had been caught off the shores of Shiraoi in autumn. The salmon were then hung to dry on a 4.5-meter-high drying frame made from logs, and two mugwort twigs were inserted into the cut and gutted bellies to spread them out and allow the wind to enter.

The salmon will be exposed to the cold winds until February, after which they will be hung inside a traditional house, known as a ‘cise,’ and smoked over an open fire until early May. According to the member of staff responsible for making the satcep, “Last year’s salmon was a little salty. This year, we rinsed them more carefully, so we think they’ll be delicious.”

In addition to using the salmon in the Upopoy cooking program, they are also planning to offer samples to visitors.


Upopoy National Ainu Museum and Park