Yugeta Soy Sauce (Hidaka, Saitama Prefecture)
No reservation required, you can visit this “Soy Sauce Kingdom” and allow your five senses to explore their creative products. Ranging from soy sauce soft serve ice cream, to tamago kake gohan, or “raw egg over white rice” seasoned with soy sauce, this brewery will satisfy your taste buds. This company is well known in the soy sauce industry, and the owner, Yoichi Yugeta, is determined to keep his soy sauce safe and delicious.
Also known as the “Soy Sauce Kingdom,” anyone can freely visit the brewery.
Driving through the rural countryside in Hidaka, Saitama Prefecture, you will find “Soy Sauce Kingdom”. When you walk up to the second floor, you will see a small restaurant, packed with tourists enjoying the famous soy sauce soft serve ice cream and tamago kake gohan.
Here, you can enjoy the tamago kake gohan and soy sauce soft serve ice cream.
On the other side of the restaurant, there is a glass window that shows soy sauce at various maturity levels. As I was looking at the soy sauce barrels, an overhead speaker rang and said, “I will start the factory tour.” Beginning with the raw material processing, they start steaming the soybeans and roasting the wheat. The commentary continued throughout the entire tour. The 20-minute tour is held every hour.
You can see the different maturity levels of the soy sauce from the glass window.
When you push a button, a light will shine on the corresponding tub.
At the beginning of the Heisei Period (1989-present), Yugeta Soy Sauce was involved in wholesale business of oils and juices. When Yoichi Yugeta-san, the fourth generation owner, took over the family business, he decided to produce soy sauce, the original function of the brewery.
“Since soy sauce is a food product, it must be safe to eat. Soy sauce is a seasoning, it has no meaning until it works,” said Yugeta-san. They started to garner serious attention when Yugeta Soy Sauce began using domestic raw materials and kioke (large wooden barrels). And they believed that in order to make the soy sauce-making process more familiar and transparent, they opened “Soy Sauce Kingdom” in 2006, a store and restaurant for customers to feel comfortable and cozy. However at that time, it was rare to invite customers to the actual soy sauce brewery.
Brothers Yoichi Yugeta-san (left) and Masatoshi Yugeta-san (right). Yoichi Yugeta-san is in charge of making and managing koji (naturally occurring mold grown on beans). Masatoshi Yugeta-san controls the quality of the soy sauce.
It is said that koji-making is critical to brewing soy sauce. Yoichi Yugeta-san says, “Steaming soybeans is very important to making good koji.” And this method is taking the front line in making koji. If you have a business trip abroad, you must wake up at 4:00 a.m. to steam the soybeans, and then you can switch to your suit and head for the airport.
Mixing steamed soybeans and roasted wheat together
Mixing the finished koji with salt and water.
Through fermentation, the mixture will become unrefined soy sauce.
There have been many instances where Yoichi Yugeta-san and Masatoshi Yugeta-san have quarreled on how to make the soy sauce better. However, they know that if they want to be one of the best soy sauce shops, they must work together. Many of their customers are locals, and 90% of the soy sauce they make is rooted in local produce. Today, they aim to be an entirely local shop.
A photograph during our visit to Yugeta Soy Sauce. Editor Hagiwara-san enjoyed eating the soy sauce soft serve ice cream. 醤油本
Naturally brewed soy sauce in kioke barrels, aged for 1 year. Using domestic soybeans and wheat, you will find this soy sauce to be exceptional. This is the soy sauce you would want to use to make good first impressions.
Price: \333 + tax
Ingredients: soybeans, wheat, salt
804-1 Tabame, Hidaka, Saitama Prefecture 〒350-1201