NIHONMONODiscovering Japan [Nihon] through authentic craftsmanship [Honmono]

Onomiti Zosu – over 400 years of tradition in the vinegar capital of Japan

Onomiti Zosu – over 400 years of tradition
in the vinegar capital of Japan

Traditional storefronts from the Showa era line the streets of Onomichi. Onomichi Zosu is located just past the covered shopping area, and the refreshing scent of vinegar is evident. It’s not the strong tart sensation you would associate with vinegar, but rather a well-balanced scent with a hint of sweetness.

“Vinegar production started in Onomichi in the 1500’s when a merchant from Sakai came to this area and began making vinegar. There are only 2 of us left now, but 10 vinegar manufacturers were active during the Meiji era, making Onomichi famous for vinegar.” (Onomiti Zosu, Plant Manager, Yoshito Maruo 丸尾仁人)

Traditional methods account for the well-rounded aroma. Onomiti Zosu allows sake lees to ferment for 3 whole years before using them to make their vinegar. The sake lees are then dissolved in water, and the mother vinegar is added to stimulate acetic fermentation. Narrow, long fermentation tubs are used to allow the vinegar to flow slowly with a thin layer of acetic bacteria forming at the top. The final product is their signature mild, well-rounded vinegar.

Their current top sellers are the concentrated fruit based vinegars and seasoned vinegars. “We have some original vinegar that was made quite awhile ago.” Maruo takes us to the secret storage where an urn with vinegar made in the 1950’s is carefully stored. The 60-year-aged vinegar has a sophisticated sweetness and a mild tartness, almost like top grade balsamic vinegar, and is not acrid whatsoever. While it isn’t suitable for drinking straight, it would be a great topping for shaved ice for instance. The flavor represents 400 years of tradition, including the acetic bacteria that continues to thrive in the plant.

ACCESS

Onomichizousu Co.,LTD.
1-5-2 Kubo, Onomichi-shi, Hiroshima
URL https://kakuhoshisu-onomiti.com/