Yamaroku Soy Sauce – handmade soy sauce aged in barrels

Yamaroku Soy Sauce
- handmade soy sauce aged in barrels

soy sauce brewery on Shodo Island

Shodo Island is famous for soy sauce and olives. It is an interesting resort island with a Mediterranean ambience, mingled with the subtle sweet scent of soy sauce from the soy sauce breweries. Yamaroku Soy Sauce has maintained the traditional brewery with cedar barrels, wood pillars, soil pathways, and earth floors. The small-scale soy sauce brewery uses large cedar barrels that are over 150 years old. The essential bacteria for soy sauce brewing, such as lactic acid bacteria and yeast, have seeped through the barrels. At the brewery, even the barrels, pillars and walls serve as important components of the ecosystem for bacteria.

Reality of the food industry

Yamaroku Soy Sauce welcomes visitors because Yasuo Yamamoto, the fifth-generation head, thinks a producer and consumers should interact with each other.
He worked for a ”tsukudani” (preserved food made by boiling ingredients in soy sauce) manufacturer as a salesperson after graduating from university. He learned that buyers tended to negotiate the prices down even when a manufacturer provided excellent products. The food industry put importance on cost: inexpensive food with a long shelf life in attractive packaging is preferred, even if it uses additives and chemical seasonings.
Yasuo decided to succeed the family’s brewery, questioning the situation of the food industry.

Face-to-face communication between the seller and the buyer/h2>

Soy sauce brewing only generates small earnings despite the labor and cost. A single cedar barrel costs as much as 5,000,000 yen. He decided to make his brewery open to the public so people could see what they were all about. He felt consumers would be more inclined to buy their soy sauce if they understood how the soy sauce was made, and they got to taste and smell the soy sauce before purchasing.
He believes face to face communication can build a good relationship between the manufacturer and consumer. He told us that thinking about the customer’s expressions added to their motivation and seemed to even enhance the taste.
The soy sauce brewery tour is very popular. Visitors can take a break after the tour to enjoy snacks using the soy sauce at Yamaroku Chaya, located next to the brewery. Popular items are soy sauce pudding and ice cream topped with soy sauce, both of which have an unexpected yet pleasant mix of salty and sweet flavors.

Preservation of traditional methods

Yamaroku Soy Sauce newly introduced 12 wood barrels in 2009. Not many soy sauce breweries add new barrels. Their barrels are very robust and last for several generations because they use quality wood. There are only four artisans who can make cedar barrels in Japan. The brewery got new barrels partly because they wanted to preserve the traditional method of producing soy sauce using barrels.
People know little about soy sauce brewing although it is a very familiar seasoning that is used daily. You may discover something new about soy sauce here.


Yamaroku Soy Sauce Co., Ltd.
1607 Yasuda-kinoe, Azushima-cho, Shozu-gun, Kagawa
URL http://yama-roku.net/