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Attractions in Saitama Prefecture:

Tours to explore Japanese food culture | Soy sauce making in Kawagoe

Kawagoe Shoyu Making

Take a short trip to Kawagoe City, Saitama's 'Little Edo,' for a glimpse of 18th century Edo Japan, and the chance to discover a whole new way to enjoy Shoyu.

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HIstoric Shoyu production in Kawagoe old town

Kawagoe, a city in Saitama prefecture, about one hour by train west of Central Tokyo, is known for its historic district remaining old Japanese store buildings. Kawagoe is called Little Edo as the town reserves the atmosphere of old Tokyo which used to be called Edo until the middle of the 19th century.

Today, Shoyu (Soy sauce) has become a widely-known, beloved product found not only in Japan but in households all over the world. Less widely known is the fact that, as with other fermented foods such as cheese and wine, Shoyu products from different regions and producers possess a variety of unique tastes and flavors.

Shoyu production in the Kawagoe area started in the mid-18th century. Since then, Kawagoe developed into a major supply source for the food products required to meet consumer demand in Edo(the former name of Tokyo), which at the time boasted the largest population in the world.

Nowadays most Shoyu is mass-produced using modern equipment. In Kawagoe, however, Shoyu is made from carefully selected local ingredients using natural fermentation processes in traditional wooden barrels.

In Kawagoe you can see Shoyu being produced first-hand and listen to artisans explain the shoyu-making process; it may even change the way you look at Shoyu altogether! One of the highlights of touring the warehouses in Kawagoe is the opportunity to sample foods seasoned and flavored with the unique Shoyu of each warehouse.

Shoyu Factory

Business Showcase
News Release from Saitama Prefectural Government Department of Industry and Labor Tourism Division

Matsumoto Soy Sauce

Established in 1764, the Matsumoto Warehouse in Kawagoe is constructed from wood and features Sugioke (cedar brewing barrels) which were built in 1830 and have remained in use since. These wooden materials contain microorganisms such as yeast and lactic acid bacteria that assist with the natural fermentation process, reflecting a centuries-old traditional brewing technique.

Matsumoto Soy Sauce

Visitors to the warehouse can enjoy 20-minute guided tours, conducted every day(excluding the end-of-year and New Year period) without a need for reservation. The adjoining ramen shop also serves ramen with broth flavored using Shoyu produced in the Matsumoto Warehouse.


The ramen served at Matsumoto's ramen restaurant "Underground Ramen"

Matsumoto Soy Sauce 松本醤油商店

10-13, Nakacho, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama, 350-0065, Japan
Telephone: 049-222-0432
https://www.hatsukari.co.jp/visit/

Fees:
Factory tours: Free Admission

Open:
Shop 9:00 - 18:00, 365 days
Ramen Restaurant 11:00 - 15:00, 17:30 - 21:00, Closed on Wednesdays
Factory Tours
Weekdays: Once in a day from 13:00 on weekdays
Weekends and holidays*: 3 times a day at 13:00, 14:00, 15:00
*Except End of year and New year holiday and the date of Kawagoe Festival Day (The 3rd Saturday and Sunday of October)

How do I join the tour?
No reservation is required. Wait at the entrance of the shop 10 minutes before the tour starts.

Getting there from Tokyo (Ikebukuro)
From Ikebukuro 池袋 by train on the Tobu Tojo-sen Line 東武東上線

From Tobu-Ikebukuro station, take an express train bound for Ogawamachi, then get off at the Kawagoeshi station 川越市駅. (Travel time: 34 mins) About 15-min walk from Kawagoeshi station.

From Shinjuku 西武新宿 by train on the Seibu Shinjuku Line 西武新宿線
From Seibu-Shinjuku station, take an express train bound for Hon-kawagoe, then get off at the station Hon-Kawagoe (Travel time: about 45 mins) About 15-min walk from Hon-kawagoe station


Fueki Shoyu Brewery

Established in 1789, Fueki Shoyu Brewery also runs a restaurant on Kawagoe's Ichibangai (a shopping street lined with Japanese-style stores and warehouses), where guests can enjoy home-made udon noodles and Shoyu. At the brewery located in the outskirts of Kawagoe, visitors can observe Shoyu being fermented and matured inside 38 barrels more than 100 years old. While maintaining traditional methods of Shoyu brewing passed down for generations, Fueki Shoyu Brewery also engages in new, innovative processes, such as the introduction of new Sugioke (cedar brewing barrels) in 2016.

Fueki Shoyu Brewery 笛木醤油

660, Kamiigusa, Kawajimamachi, Saitama, 350-0152, Japan
https://kinbue.jp/en_factory_tour

Fees:
Factory tours: Free Admission

Open: Weekdays except for year-end and new year holidays and Obon holiday.
Negotiable on Saturday, Sunday and public holidays
Between 9:30 and 16:00 (60-80min tours)

How do I join the tour?
Please make a reservation by 1 week before the tour with visitor's information: Date and time and number of people to visit
TEL:049-297-0041 FAX:049-297-5978 MAIL:info@kinbue.jp

Getting there from Tokyo (Ikebukuro) 
From Ikebukuro 池袋 by train on the Tobu Tojo-sen Line 東武東上線 or JR Line

From Tobu-Ikebukuro station, take an express train bound for Kawagoe, then get off at the station. (Travel time: 33 mins)
OR
From JR Ikebukuro station take an express train on the JR Saikyo-sen Line bound for Kawagoe station. (Travel time: 49mins)
From Kawagoe station (East Exit), take a bus and get off at Igusa-Gakko-Mae 伊草学校前. 5-min walk from the bus stop.

*Parking space available for a large sightseeing bus or 10 standard-sized cars


Fueki also has a shop and Udon noodle restaurant in Kawagoe old town: https://kinbue.jp/en


Yugeta Shoyu

The feature of Yugeta Shoyu is its factory with the facility called Shoyu Okoku (Soy Sauce Kingdom), letting you know all about Shoyu while listening to experts explain the Shoyu-making process in detail, as well as giving you a chance to try out Shoyu pressing by hand. Shoyu Okoku is located in the city next to Kawagoe.

Shoyu Okoku has a branch shop near Toki-no-Kane or Time Bell Tower, the landmark of Kawagoe old town known as a popular tourist spot. At the shop, visitors can purchase fresh-pressed Shoyu and enjoy Shoyu-flavored ice cream.

Yugeta Shoyu 弓削多醤油

Shoyu Okoku (Soy Sauce Kingdom 醤遊王国)

804-1, Tabame, Hidaka-shi, Saitama, 350-1201, Japan
Telephone: 042-985-8011
http://yugeta.com/english/kingdom.htm

Admisson fee: Free

Open: 9:30 - 15:30 (30-minute tours)
Closed year-end and new year holidays

How do I join a tour?
Please contact by phone for any enquiries about Soy Sauce Kingdom, reservation of squeeze-by-yourself corner, reservation for group study tours, etc.

Getting there from Tokyo by way of Sakado (Tobu Tojo Line)
From Tobu-Ikebukuro Station, take an express train bound for Sakado station 坂戸. From Sakado take the Ogose-sen train and get off at NIshi-Oya station 西大家. (Total travel time: about 58 mins)
20-min walk from Nishi-Oya station.

Shoyu Okoku Shop at Kawagoe Old Town

14-5, Otemachi, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama, 350-0057, Japan
Open from 10:00 to 17:00
Closed on Tuesdays
Getting there: 15-min walk from Hon-Kawagoe station on the Seibu Shinjuku Line.

Image Map of Kawagoe Area

(1) Matsumoto Soy Sauce, (2) Fueki Shoyu Brewery (3) Fueki Shop & Restaurant,
(4) Shoyu Okoku Factory (5) Shoyu Okoku Shop


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