This Historic Town Is the Birthplace of Japanese Soy Sauce

It's like going back in time.


From your favorite sushi to your beloved ramen, there is no doubt that
shoyu or Japanese soy sauce is an integral ingredient in Japanese cuisine. So if you're going to Japan (or if you simply love soy sauce), we believe it's worth stopping by the town of Yuasa in the Wakayama Prefecture, where the tradition of making this fermented condiment was born--and still lives on. 

Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Historic Buildings (Japan Heritage)
Wakayama Prefecture, Yuasa Town, Yuasa
Contact: +81-737-63-2525 

Start your tour in this corner of town. Walk around the neighborhood and take photos of the traditional town houses and buildings, still complete with lattice doors, tiled roofs, and plaster-painted walls. Cool fact: Some of these establishments are also the oldest in Japan.

Take a break from all the walking in front of the brewery of Kinzanji Miso, one of the oldest establishments that makes shoyu.


Drop by Jinburo, a former bathhouse that was open until the late Showa era.


A small gallery adorned with lattice doors.


Kadocho Soy Sauce Museum
Wakayama Prefecture, Arida-gun, Yuasa-cho, Yuasa 7
Contact: +81-737-62-2035
Open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays; entry on other days can be arranged by making a reservation. 

In Yuasa, you'll also find one of the oldest soy sauce factories in Japan. Here, you can get a free lesson about the town's traditional brewing method, which they have inherited from the Kamakura period.


This is also where you can find the original tools used for the production of soy sauce until the early Showa era as well as other old equipment like stock barrels and huge presses. You can also listen to a commentary about the whole process of brewing shoyu, which is bound to make you appreciate how easily available soy sauce is today. 

This shoyu store built in 1866 is still in use.


The only existing assembled foot-type wheat breaker in Japan.


A new wing of the museum. Here, tools that are mainly used at home are exhibited.


Kitamachi Chaya Ippuku
Wakayama Prefecture, Arida-gun, Yuasa-cho, Yuasa 23
Contact: +81-737-62-3300
Open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily except Mondays and the next day in the case of holidays

Once you get a little hungry, go to Kitamachi Chaya Ippuku, which is known for their traditional miso. They also have homemade curry and sweets, but if you're craving seafood, you can bring in the grilled fish and sashimi sold at the local fresh fish store as well as side dishes from Kusuyama Shop located on the west side.

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Their Egg Rice Set (¥550) includes miso soup, Kinzanji miso, Nanko-ume plum, an egg, and unlimited rice.

 

Matcha Zenzai (¥500). The sweetness of azuki beans tempers the flavor of matcha in this dessert. The cold version is served with rice flour dumplings.


Sit comfortably in Zashiki style while you enjoy the line of traditional houses across the lattice doors.


The house was built in the Edo period and still keeps its original condition even after renovation.


Yuasa Hot Spring & Yuasa Castle
Wakayama Prefecture, Arida-gun, Yuasa-cho, Aoki 75
Contact: +81-737-63-6688
Open from 12 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily (reception is only open until 10 p.m.)
Price: ¥ 500 for the hot spring

End your Yuasa day trip by taking a dip in one of the hot springs found on the first floor of Yuasa Castle, with a panoramic view of the Yuasa townscape and Yuasa Bay. Time your visit in the afternoon when the sun is just about to set.

The exfoliating properties of their alkaline spring are said to have a good effect on your skin.

 

For the best views, head up to the fifth floor of Yuasa Castle.


How to get to Yuasa from Osaka:

  1. It's approximately 80 minutes from the Hanshin Expressway Minatocho entrance to Hanwa Expressway Arita IC, mileage is approximately 95 km, price of highway ¥2,940 (ETC discount ¥2,350).

  2. From Arita IC to Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Historic Buildings, take national highway No. 42 southwest and prefectural highway 23 westward. Approximately 3 km, about 10 minutes.


Provided by Japan Walker™ and Kansai Walker™ (28 November 2017)

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