NIHONMONODiscovering Japan [Nihon] through authentic craftsmanship [Honmono]

Soy sauce (shoyu) fermented naturally for 2 years in wooden barrels

Soy sauce (shoyu) fermented naturally for 2 years in wooden barrels

Soy sauce has a supporting role, yet it can also affect the flavor of the ingredients as well as the final product. The soy sauce in this shop makes one appreciate the true value of soy sauce as a seasoning.
Matsumoto Craft Soy Sauce is located in a side street just off the main street in Kawagoe, an area known as “little Edo” or old Tokyo. The store not only sells soy sauce but also other soy sauce related products including rice crackers, pickles and even gelato. The best selling item in the store is “Hakkari soy sauce”.
“We choose our ingredients with special care, using underground water from Chichibu, and use very traditional soy sauce making techniques. We aren’t able to produce a lot, but our priority is to create soy sauce that can be enjoyed with peace of mind.” (Yoshihisa Higuchi, Matsumoto Craft Soy Sauce)

Soy sauce production was started in 1764 by a wealthy merchant named Gorobee Yokota. The business was succeeded by the first generation Shinjiro Matsumoto in 1889 who opened Matsumoto Craft Soy Sauce. The gentle aroma of soy sauce surrounds us as we enter the “kura” or storehouse built in 1831. The 30 wooden barrels lining the walls are also more than 180 years old. While machine made soy sauce is only fermented for 6 months, the minimum here is 1 year. Their flagship brand “Hakkari soy sauce” is fermented for an additional year to achieve the mellow flavor.
“The storehouse and barrels are the cornerstone of our soy sauce. The yeast and lactic bacteria help produce the mild flavor.”
Similar to sake breweries which produce the best sake, the soy brewery is old but does not seem old-fashioned. The mash has a deep flavor that overrides the saltiness. It’s evident that sashimi would taste that much better with this soy sauce. This distinct flavor can be enjoyed as long as the wooden barrels are in good shape. And hopefully, the traditional methods used to make the soy sauce will be passed on to future generations as well.


Matsumoto Craft Soy Sauce
10-13 Nakamachi, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama 350-0065