A few minutes by car from Cape Kadokura, there is a place that few locals go to, let alone tourists.
In this out-of-the-way, hidden location, they make a famous Tanegashima product called Nanatsu-no Umi (Seven Seas) Sun-Dried Salt.
The first thing I spotted when I went to the area was a trickle-down salt pan apparatus made of wood and bamboo.
Seawater drips down from the highest level, passes through the bamboo stalks, and falls to the bottom. Like the sound of rain, there was a constant, and soothing, chorus from the water.
I heard from Mr. Seki the saltmaker that probably only a few operations in Japan use this drying method. This was a rare sight to see.
Mr. Seki told me that he came across this approach when he was trying to think of the best way for someone working alone to produce salt.
Drying salt by sun doesn't use fire and instead uses heat from the sun and energy from the wind.
Crystallization takes place through the power of nature.
The result is evident when you taste it--the saltiness is subtle, it's easy to eat, and it's delicious.
Mr. Seki, my source of information, said with a broad smile, "It has a reasonable mineral content.
Nothing magnificent, just a tad."
There are many fans of Seki's Seven Seas Salt.
In addition to locals, these fans apparently include sushi restaurants in Ginza as well as famous unagi eel restaurants and other vendors in the Tokyo area.
The many admirers range far and wide, both on and off the island.
Seven Seas Salt is available at supermarkets and souvenir shops around Tanegashima, but its popularity means it is frequently sold out.
I, myself, had to visit four places before I found some.
It's sought after as a gift and as a common cooking ingredient for the locals.
Sun-dried salt--relatively unknown, yet in demand.