Whilst in Japan I was lucky enough to visit a wasabi farm. Here is what I discovered:
Wasabi is a root and is grown in water (like horseradish). The way the wasabi plants wind through the valley makes it looks like this farm was once a river.
There is even a bridge so that you can cross the river of wasabi to get to the Shinto shrines on the other side.
Here is a shrine from one side of the river...
...and here is the inside of another on the other side of the river.
People harvesting the wasabi.
Here are just some of the products that the farm puts wasabi into including that very green drink which is wasabi beer!
This is a meal you can have at the wasabi farm. All aspects of it contain wasabi! The two little wrapped things are sweet wasabi buns filled with red bean paste, below them is a fried fish fillet and at the bottom are wasabi noodles and spring onion in a dashi broth.
The black lacquer box is a bento box! Top row (left to right): savoury potato jelly, sweet omelette, fried prawn ball. Middle row: broccoli with wasabi mayonnaise, fried fish (I think it was eel), cucumber with a very hot wasabi pickle. Bottom: tofu and bamboo root, chicken salad, mountain vegetables in a sesame dressing.
We then got taught how to make wasabi pickle. Wasabi pickle uses both the wasabi root and the wasabi stem. You chop it up then mix it with miso paste and leave it to ferment.