Kamata Miso and Soy Sauce Brewery


2018.04.18

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

  • If you’ve ever eaten in a Japanese restaurant, you can’t help but notice the ubiquitous bowl of miso soup and bottles of soy sauce on the table. Other than rice, these two staples have shaped Japan’s cuisine more than any other products and can be found in just about every dish available. Marukama’s Kamata Brewery in Hitoyoshi has been keeping the traditional manufacturing processes of these products alive since 1955. Visiting their factory is a great way to see firsthand how these products are made and to try the products for yourself.

    Kamata Miso and Soy Sauce Brewery

    Kamata Miso and Soy Sauce Brewery

    Miso is made by fermenting soybeans with salt and koji, a fungus that has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years to make things like alcohol, vinegar, and condiments. Because it’s rich in protein and vitamins, miso became a significant source of nutrition for Japanese peasants and established itself as one of the signature flavors of Japanese cuisine. At the Kamata Brewery, you can see large vats of miso paste being fermented the same way it’s been done for hundreds of years. In its unprocessed form, the smell of miso can be overwhelming for many, but when mixed with fish stock, it becomes a savory and warming comfort food.

    Kamata Miso and Soy Sauce Brewery

    Kamata Miso and Soy Sauce Brewery

    The Marukama Brewery also makes six types of soy sauce with different recommended purposes. Their small operation ensures the quality and authenticity that is often lacking in bigger operations. Originally, soy sauce was invented in China. The Japanese weren’t introduced to the product until the 7th century. Since then, Japan has developed its own versions, which are slightly sweeter than the Chinese version. These days, Japanese soy sauce is the gold standard and can be found in nearly any grocery store in the world.

    Kamata Miso and Soy Sauce Brewery

    Kamata Miso and Soy Sauce Brewery

    The factory offers a free 30-minute tour of their premises. Outside the traditional building, which is over 100 years old, there’s a nice garden area that really captures the aesthetic of Meiji-era Japan. Inside, you can see the production process, from the fermentation of miso, which takes more than a year, to the bottling of soy sauce. In February and March, there’s even a doll exhibit. The tours are in Japanese, so it’s helpful to have someone with you who can translate. However, you can probably enjoy the tour even with the language barrier.

    Kamata Miso and Soy Sauce Brewery

    Kamata Miso and Soy Sauce Brewery

    If you stop by the factory, you can also enjoy a tea and sample some of the products they make. For instance, you can try their kikurage (wood ear mushrooms), which are a popular side dish and ramen topping, or their natto, a tangy fermented soybean dish that can be found on many Japanese breakfast tables. Be sure to stop at their shop on the way out if you want to buy some of the products they make.

    Kamata Miso and Soy Sauce Brewery

    Kamata Miso and Soy Sauce Brewery

    It’s only a 10-15 minute walk to the brewery from Hitoyoshi Station. Marukama’s Kamata Brewery factory tour is open from 9am to 4pm and is free. It’s highly recommended you make a reservation through their website, as the tour is limited to 10 people.

    Kamatajozosho
    place
    Kumamoto Pref. Hitoyoshishi Kajiyamachi 45
    phone
    0966223164
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    ฮิโตะโยชิ
    place
    คุมาโมโตะ
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