ホーム 〉木桶仕込みの蔵 〉 中国 〉 岡本醤油醸造場│Okamoto




A deep love for making soy sauce

When I think of someone who has a great love for making soy sauce, I think of Yoshihiro Okamoto. Although the location of the brewery is in Hiroshima Prefecture, Osakikamijima is in fact an island, which is only accessible by ferry. In the past, island tours would stop by the soy sauce brewery as one of the attractions. But now, people make the journey from all over just for Okamoto’s soy sauce.

醤油が大好きで、醤油のことを話し始めたら止まらない岡本義弘さん、女将さん、康史さん、哲也さん。この家族は本当に温かい。そして、醤油づくりに愛を感じる。/Yoshihiro Okamoto, his wife Okami Okamoto, and their two sons, Yasushi Okamoto (far left) and Tetsuya Okamoto (far right), all love soy sauce. If you ask Yoshihiro Okamoto about soy sauce, he won’t stop talking about it! This lovely family is incredibly genial, and I can feel their love and passion for soy sauce−making.




Brewing soy sauce in the center of the Seto Inland Sea

30 minutes by ferry from Takehara Port in Hiroshima Prefecture, Osakikamijima is an island active in shipbuilding and mandarin orange growing. On the island of 9,000 people, there is a lovely soy sauce brewery.

Carefully selected domestic soybeans, wheat, and sun−dried salt, all are naturally−brewed in traditional kioke(a large wooden barrel made of Japanese cedar). Every day, Okamoto watches over the 30 kioke, full of delicious soy sauce, as they mature and ferment.

大崎上島に行く交通手段はフェリー。春にはみかんの花の香りが島全体に漂い、秋にはオレンジ色の実が山を埋め尽くすそうです。/Osakikamijima is accessible only by ferry. In the spring, the fragrance of mandarin orange flowers drifts throughout the island, while in the fall, orange fruits fill the mountains.
白水港から徒歩数分で岡本醤油醸造場が見えてきます。/Okamoto Soy Sauce Brewery is only a few minutes by foot from Hakusui Port.





The best hospitality

During the period of high crude oil prices in 2008, the cost of raw materials rose, causing many soy sauce breweries to simultaneously increase their soy sauce prices. However, Okamoto did not raise his prices: “Although there was little to no business interest at the time, I wanted my soy sauce to be enjoyed and used with great care. So that’s why I used all my effort and time to make good soy sauce,” said Okamoto.

Recently, there are many breweries using “tsuyu” or “processed broth” in their soy sauce, and they would keep the same recipe for the whole year. But Okamoto tries to accommodate his customers’ needs: “When it’s hot in the summer, I add a little bit more salt to the soy sauce. When it’s cold in the winter, I add a little bit of sugar to the soy sauce. I think that is the best hospitality—to be able to satisfy our customers.”

Because these ideas are the foundation of Okamoto’s soy sauce, he uses many keywords such as “nature” and “delicious soy sauce” when describing his products. Okamoto says, “Soybeans and wheat from the field, mixed with the salt from the sea. These raw materials turn into valuable koji (naturally−occurring mold grown on beans), and through the power of microorganisms that originated from Japan’s four seasons, the soy sauce is fermented.”

大豆の蒸し上がりの様子を見せてくれる岡本哲也さん。/Tetsuya Okamoto showing us how to steam the soybeans.
下の階にある麹室の中に運ばれます。/The steamed soybean and roasted wheat mixture is then taken to the koji room.
綺麗に整えていきます。/Then someone will spread the koji out evenly.





Making soy sauce for home cooking

When Okamoto had just inherited the brewery, he noticed that other shops would deliver the soy sauce to families across the island. He wanted to have his soy sauce to be chosen and used too, so he also delivered his soy sauce. After some time, as he was passing by some of the houses, there was a familiar fragrance in the air—it was his own soy sauce that people would use for cooking!

Okamoto realized that one house will cook vegetables this way, and another house will cook fish a different way. Each cooking style and taste is slightly different depending on the house. And since that time, he realized that “home cooking” is the base of soy sauce−making.

“When I was young, I wanted to make a variety of unique soy sauces, but then I thought about my family—it’s better to make delicious soy sauce that you can use at any home. I didn’t want to veer too far off from the original flavor of soy sauce. Winter roots, spring vegetables, summer stalks, and autumn fruit, each are the best harvest of every season. I want to bring out these flavors in my soy sauce,” said Okamoto in a warm voice.

昔ながらの木桶が並びます。/Traditional kioke all neatly arranged.
桶に刺さっている棒が「櫂棒(かいぼう)」といって、桶の中の諸味(もろみ)をかき混ぜる時に使います。/The wooden paddle is used for stirring the moromi (main fermented mash).
混ぜるとこんな様子。時間が経つほどに色が濃くなって均一になってきます。/When stirring, the moromi will look like this. As time goes by, the color will become darker and more uniform.




その白カビを防ぐ手立てとして攪拌(かくはん)があります。桶の中の諸味(もろみ)をかき混ぜるのですが、この作業がとっても大変。20石の桶だと容量は約3,600リットル。3トン以上の重さを、攪棒(かいぼう *上写真の棒)を使って手作業でかき混ぜるのです。どれほど大変かは容易に想像いただけると思いますが、この作業を3日毎に行うわけです。それも30本の桶全て!

30 kioke is the best one can manage

Naturally, traditionally-made soy sauce cannot be mass−produced.

Depending on the natural surroundings where the brewery is located, and the nature of the microorganisms that live in the brewery, these factors will affect how the moromi is matured. Moromi is the key element that gives each soy sauce brewery its unique taste. If people touch the moromi or kioke, then a type of white mold called “film yeast” will appear, negatively affecting the soy sauce.

Fortunately, stirring the moromi will prevent the white mold from appearing, but it is laborious work. With a 20 stone kioke (about 3,600 liters or 792 gallons) that weighs more than three tons, stirring by hand is no small task. Every three days, Okamoto stirs all 30 kioke by himself!

原料処理場と蔵をつなぐ渡り廊下からの撮影。正面には瀬戸内海、背面には山。そのため、とっても気持ちのいい自然の風が通り抜けます。/The raw material processing warehouse and the brewery are linked together by a small passageway. In front of the brewery is the Seto Inland Sea, while at the back of the brewery are mountains. This allows a nice natural breeze to pass through.
蔵の前には海が広がります。/The ocean spread out before the brewery.





Wind passing through the brewery

Generally, if you use water to make soy sauce, then naturally−occurring mold called koji is used. As the koji matures over time, the warehouse will easily accumulate moisture, which may cause an unpleasant odor.

But Okamoto’s brewery is different. His soy sauce’s fragrant aroma spreads near and far. Why is that? With thorough cleaning and organization of the brewery, along with the natural wind that passes through, this allows the aroma to spread.

With the mountains behind the brewery and the Seto Inland Sea in front, it becomes a natural air freshener. The trees up on the mountainside contain an abundance of oxygen, whereas the ocean wind has an abundance of natural minerals. The mountain and ocean breezes are constantly passing through, circulating to every corner in the brewery. The natural air carries the perfect amount of moisture, and always keeps the brewery in crisp condition.

2016年に新設された圧搾場。閉じられた環境で低温に保たれています。/Established in 2016, the new press and refining machine is kept in a cool, closed environment.
この均一さと丁寧な作業ぶりに唸ってしまいます。/The uniform and precise pressing allows the soy sauce to stream through.
できるだけ平らにするために手で均します。/Using their hands, they will try to level the moromi as flat as possible.





Careful pressing

When you open the door and enter into the pressing and refining room, you will be surrounded by the smell of alcohol. This becomes proof that the yeast fungus is active and flourishing. What is also impressive is seeing the dozens of furoshiki, or “cloth wrapper,” all neatly stacked.

Unraveling the furoshiki,the moromi will be carefully wrapped in the furoshiki,and will look like a cushion.A person will stack dozens of the wrapped moromi sheets together. But in order to be flat and even throughout, a person would need to align the proper amount of the moromi in each sheet. This is a difficult task, so a person must have an eye of precision, and must be able to roughly calculate the appropriate supply of moromi in each sheet.

By slowly and carefully patting the moromi, it will even out. One of the employees that works with the moromi said, “I can’t tell if there are any subtle irregularities until I touch the moromi with my hand.” After hearing that, this type of work is extremely time−consuming. But after all, this is Okamoto’s soy sauce.

岡本康史さん、哲也さん兄弟/Brothers Yasushi and Tetsuya.


手造り醤油 濃口本仕込み熟成二年100ml

価格 : 362円+税
原材料 : 大豆、小麦、食塩


手造り醤油 かけ二段仕込み熟成三年100ml

価格 : 428円+税
原材料 : 大豆、小麦、食塩、アルコール
〒725-0231 広島県豊田郡大崎上島町東野2577
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