All Japanese Love Their “Shoyu”. Love was Overflowing Even During the Manufacturing Process!
Do you know where this is?
Our reporters Kumiko Funayama and Hikari Shiina are actually inside one of the barrels that’s used to make soy sauce(Shoyu)! This time our girls visited the Yamasa soy sauce factory.
At this factory you can observe the step by step process of how soy sauce is manufactured in person. The barrel in which the girls took the photo above is the factory’s ultimate hot spot for taking photos to remember your visit.
But why on earth did these girls come to a soy sauce factory?! The answer to that is simple! Soy sauce is something that no Japanese dining table is without. That’s something that hasn’t changed since long ago. Yamasa soy sauce factory was established in year 1645. With a history as long as that, we’d like to explain just how much the Japanese love their soy sauce. First of all, there is no way that you’ll ever be able to find any standard Japanese house without soy sauce. Secondly, with the vast varieties of soy sauce and the variation in taste between each area of Japan, there are already 5 different types of soy sauce(dark, light, tamari, white and twice-brewed). In recent times, there are even unique varieties of soy sauce such as sweet soy sauce that can be put on yogurt, ice cream and even bread! There are more than 1500 different soy sauce factories across Japan who means that there are the very least over 1500 varieties of soy sauce in existence in Japan alone.
Now back to our girls’ visit to the Yamasa soy sauce factory and their observation of the soy sauce manufacturing process there. On their visit, they were guided by Ms. Katsuyama! The girls listened intently to Ms. Katsuyama’s explanations as they explored the factory.
The manufacturing process of soy sauce is split up into 6 different steps (Preparing raw materials→Koji culturing→Fermenting→Pressing→Heating→Bottling) but the 2 processes you can observe while visiting the factory are the Koji culturing and Fermenting processes. The raw ingredients of Koji include soy bean and wheat germ with the taste of soy sauce differing depending on the type of germ used. During the fermenting process, saline solution is combined with the Koji and then left in a tank to ferment for 6 months in order to bring out the deepest flavor possible. And so you see, it actually takes more than half a year for the manufactured soy sauce to actually reach consumers. The girls were very excited about viewing the manufacturing process because it was something that they wouldn’t normally have the chance to do!
The girls couldn’t help but ask so many questions!
They found themselves falling even more in love with soy sauce after discovering how the condiment that they had been consuming for so long was processed.
After learning a lot of new information at the factory observation, the girls then visited the factory store to delight in soy sauce flavored ice cream! It was a salty yet sweet mysterious taste with a hint of the addictive taste of soy sauce!
To end the day, the girls took a photo with Ms. Katsuyama to commemorate their wonderful day out!
In the photo Ms. Katsuyama is holding some soy sauce that visitors receive upon their visit to Yamasa soy sauce factory! The girls received one bottle each and began their journey home. And of course, all visitors are able to buy other varieties of soy sauce at the souvenir corner inside the factory!
Even overseas there are shops that sell Japanese soy sauce but there are a vast variety of unique “Shoyu” flavors that you can only buy in Japan so if you are ever in the country, please set yourself the task of finding your favorite! You can also do a simulation experience of the Yamasa soy sauce factory on this site, so please be sure to check it out too!
Photo by Tsubasa Ishiguchi
Translated by Cheryl Coyle
InformationYamasa soy sauce factory
Address : 2-10-1 Araoi-cho, Choshi-shi, Chiba
Nearest Station : Choshi
TEL : 0479-22-9809
URL : http://www.yamasa.com/english/