Have you heard of Kanro Soy Sauce? It’s a specialty of Yanai city, Yamaguchi prefecture.
Brewed in a double fermentation (re-fermentation) process that requires twice the time of the average soy sauce to make, Kanro soy sauce was loved by young lords who would shout “Kanro, kanro! (Delicious).”
One of the sauce’s characteristics that it has an almost jet black, glossy deep color, and its rich flavor makes it perfect for sashimi, cold tofu and sushi.
A brewer of Kanro Soy Sauce, Sagawa Shoyu, has created a museum in celebration of Kanro Soy Sauce.
As it’s located right next to the white walled area that has been selected as one of Japan’s important preservation districts of historical buildings, you can drop by while sight-seeing.
Displayed within the warehouse are the various tools used in the making of soy sauce – you can really feel the history of soy sauce making!
What makes the warehouse terribly unusual is that it is still in use! Apparently many celebrities have visited the facility, and we even found some rubber boots that had been worn by a celebrity when they came with a TV film crew!
In the warehouse, you can see the production process of Kanro Soy Sauce being fermented in 400 liter wooden containers.
When we visited in March to research this article, it was just the season when they were starting fermentation. Some containers were filled with the main fermenting mash, and the air was filled with a delicious fragrance.
All the other containers would shortly be filled, too…
Near the entrance there is a Kanro Soy Sauce sales corner.
Behind the counter you can see pots filled with soy sauce on display. In bygone times people would apparently bring these pots with them when they came to buy soy sauce. It’s an ecological example of shopping that we should follow even now!
In addition to soy sauce the shop sells dressing, sesame oil and furikake (dried, crumbled foods to sprinkle on rice), among other products. A sample corner is also available.
As it was a special chance, I tasted the Kanro soy sauce. It had such a good strong flavor that I thought I might be able to enjoy a whole bowl of rice with soy sauce and nothing else! I understood well the feeling of those young lords who shouted “Kanro, Kanro!”.
I also found a soy sauce dispenser with the “gold fish lantern” motif, which is the symbol of Yanai. It looks like a souvenir that might make someone happy.
Nowadays, even live performances are held by artists at the Sagawa Shoyu warehouse.
Do come and experience the dignified warehouse that has seen over 100 years of history starting from the Meiji period.
Kanro Soy Sauce Museum (Sagawa Shoyu warehouse)
Address: 3708-1 Yanai, Yanai city, Yamaguchi prefecture
Open: 8.00-17.00 (Sundays & National holidays 9.00-16.00)
Access: 15-minutes walk from JR Yanai station
The Setouchi Finder Editors