Currently, there is a photo contest underway on Shodoshima Island. Click here for information on how to enter:
Twenty-four spots on the island have been designated as places to be photographed. In today’s article, I’m going to introduce a couple of Soy Sauce Breweries. Soy sauce brewing is one of Shodoshima’s old traditional industries, and in the eastern part of the island there are many breweries and tsukudani shops (food boiled down with soy sauce). The area is called Hishiono Sato.
Yamaroku Soy Sauce
Located right at the back of Hishiono Sato, the first brewery I’m going to introduce is Yamaroku Soy Sauce. A long established soy sauce brewery with a history of about 150 years, the current owner Yasuo Yamamoto is probably the 5th successive owner. I say ‘probably’ because their history is so long, they themselves do not remember. 😉 It might be even longer than 150 years.
Very popular among tourists, admission to the facilities is free of charge. The entrance might be a bit hard to find, but there is a large wooden barrel by the entrance that you can go into and take a commemorative photo.
Well then, let’s enter the brewery. Inside the building, the sweet fragrance of moromi (unrefined soy sauce) fills the air. Nowadays, most soy sauce is mass-produced using machines, but here at Yamaroku Soy Sauce they still make it in the traditional, old-fashioned way.
The soy sauce is fermented in large wooden barrels, and as a result, the outsides are covered in fermenting mold. Bacteria, the lifeline of soy sauce brewing, ensures that this particular soy sauce has its own distinctive flavor. Two kinds of soy sauce are made here. One, Kikubishio, has a simple yet sharp flavor. The other, Tsurubishio, has a rich flavor as it is stored and flavored twice. They also produce a ponzu vinegar, and a stock and soy sauce mixture made with the two soy sauces. You can sample them and buy them as souvenirs, if you want.
Furthermore, there are also soy sauce sweets.
Soy Sauce Sweets @ Yamaroku Teahouse
Actually, Yamaroku Soy Sauce also has a cafe where you can eat sweets made with soy sauce.
This is ice cream with Tsurubishio (320 yen). It is vanilla ice cream with rich flavored Tsurubishio drizzled on top. It might seem like a joke product made to get laughs, but it actually tastes really good, albeit slightly peculiar. If one flavor were stronger than the other, then it most certainly would not taste as good, but the two flavors are just perfectly balanced. Try it out for yourself! There is also pudding filled with Tsurubishio (320 yen). This one you can only get on Saturdays, Sundays and national holidays.
There is also this:
There are even soy sauce tomatoes! Well, not exactly. These ‘soy sauce tomatoes’ are not made with soy sauce per se, but the moromi left over after pressing the soy sauce is used as fertilizer to grow the tomatoes. They are surprisingly sweet! Soy sauce is indeed the source of many strange powers…
After finishing a very enjoyable tour around the brewery, I continued onto Soy Sauce Brewery Street.
Marukin Soy Sauce Brewery Street
Just 10 minutes south by car from Yamaroku Soy Sauce, there is a huge soy sauce brewery.
This is Marukin Soy Sauce, the largest soy sauce brewer in Shodoshima. The building is a whopping 100 meters long, and it lies in one of the designated spots of the photo contest: Soy Sauce Brewery Street. While you are not allowed to enter the brewery itself, you can get a sense of its sheer size from outside.
For some reason, there is a button on the outside wall of the brewery. If you press it, a burst of air filled with the nice sweet aroma of moromi comes from inside. It’s hard to only press it once…
Marukin Soy Sauce Museum & The Return of Soy Sauce Sweets
Right next to Soy Sauce Brewery Street lies Marukin Soy Sauce Museum.
The museum building was originally where the soy sauce was pressed and extracted from the moromi. Original equipment used at that time is on display, so visitors can look and learn about the traditional brewing process. In the room next door, you can buy soy sauce and other specialty products from Shodoshima.
You can even buy the famous soy sauce soft ice cream! The rich flavor of the soy sauce really enhances the flavor of the ice cream and it’s really delicious. This is definitely something you have to try when you come and visit Soy Sauce Brewery Street.
Any Brewery is OK For The Photo Contest
In this article, I introduced two soy sauce breweries from Hishiono Sato, but any brewery on Shodoshima can be used for the photo contest. Find your own favorite soy sauce brewery and capture it in all its beauty!
Yamaroku Soy Sauce
Address: Ko 1607 Yasuda, Shodoshima, Shozu District, Kagawa Prefecture
Open: 9:00 – 17:00
Closed: Open throughout the year
Parking: Available (10 spaces)
Marukin Soy Sauce Museum
Address: Ko 1850 Noma, Shodoshima, Shozu District, Kagawa Prefecture
Open: 9:00 – 17:00
Closed: No scheduled holidays
Parking: Available for large-size vehicles
Admission: Adults 210 yen, Junior high school students & younger 160 yen
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Daisuke Chiba
Daisuke Chiba / Photo-writer I was born in 1985 in Miyoshi City, Tokushima Prefecture, and now live in Tokushima City. After graduating university, I worked at a publishing company as an editor for various mooks, and in April 2014 I went freelance. I work as a photographer, copy-writer and editor, but also do product development and other stuff as well. If anyone needs me, I can do anything! Except, in spite of my being from Tokushima, dancing - I’m really bad at dancing Awa Odori!
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