124 Azaiwasaki, Iwasaki, Yuzawa-shiGoogle Map
|Approx. 16 minute walk from JR Shimo-Yuzawa Station Approx. 24 minute walk, 10 minute taxi ride from JR Jumonji Station
|Factory Opening Hours
|Prior reservation system, in one hour intervals. Maximum capacity is 40 people.
Yamamo Miso and Soy Sauce Brewing Company has been in business since 1867. Iwasaki District in Yuzawa City, where our company is located, has such a unique history. Kashimasama, a large rice-straw divinity, has guarded this area since ancient times, and around the mid-13th century, the Iwasaki Castle was constructed where there previously laid a forest, in hopes of the area flourishing as a town with its logistically advantageous location along the Minase River. The Iwasaki District is also a rural area with rich nature, home to one of Akita’s three famous water-related tragic legends. According to the legend, the daughter of the 14th-generation feudal lord of Iwasaki Castle, Princess Noe, was drowned to death on the way to her wedding ceremony at Inakawa Castle, and turned into a dragon to protect the Minase River for eternity. Our founder, Takahashi Mosuke (the heads of our company have since continued to inherit the name Mosuke) established our company during the late Edo period to utilize the underground water dispersed from the Minase River. Since then, our company has continued brewing for approx. 150 years through seven generations.
We operate with the motto “Life is Voyage”, which refers to the world’s culinary culture merging with Japanese seasonings and moving forward together. We have also begun to offer factory tours to visitors, which feature our renovated garden (maintained for over 100 years), residences, as well as our brewers and the value of what they do every day. In 2011, our company spearheaded efforts to publicize our brand, “Yamamo”, overseas. Since then, the brand has won many prizes, including the 2013 Good Design Award for our efforts in spreading the appeal of the brewing industry, and was selected by the Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry in 2016 as one of 300 Small- and Medium-Sized Upcoming Enterprises, and in 2017 as a Regional Leading Company for the Future. In addition, we received so much attention both in Japan and abroad that we were covered in a British magazine, MONOCLE.
We use underground water from Mt. Kurikoma and clearly separate our facilities by process: for example, we have a “Shikomikura” preparation warehouse for making koji mold, as well as a “Moromigura” for fermenting and maturing. At our brewery, a production process that utilizes the changing of the four seasons takes place.
YUKIDOKE -A Thoroughly-grated Miso-
Brewed solely with locally-grown Akita Komachi rice and stored in a low-temperature warehouse for a long time. Contains a sufficient ratio of koji (30% of its total volume) and a low concentration of sodium, kept at no more than 8%. Offers a sake-like aroma and creamy texture as a result the rich koji used in its production and its long-duration, low-temperature fermentation. Our miso brand, YUKIDOKE, is prepared by grating miso that is already creamy as-is, reaching a completely smooth texture. It can be enjoyed both as a dipping sauce and as an ingredient for mixing boiled vegetables, both of which feature a natural taste that emerges from the sweet koji and low-sodium content. Try it now to savor its moderate taste, similar to the sensation of snow gently melting in the mouth. We put it on shelves after fermenting for an entire year at the climax of its sweetness and aroma, which occurs only once a year.
AMASHIRO -A Soy-Sauce Prepared with Delicious Water, Resulting in 25% Less Sodium –
Even with its reduced sodium content, its sweetness and rich flavor shines through. This brand has been loved by locals for a long time and used in many different ways, in cooking and as a dipping/pouring sauce. We feature it as one of our representative brands.
We offer a “Yamamo Factory Tour”, through which visitors learn about our facilities and how they underwent multiple renovations spanning several generations. They will also see how we make the most of our warehouses, as we divide them in respect to different parts of the production process, including brewing.
One of our company’s unique features is that each of our production processes, such as compressing, igniting, mixing, or filtering, are conducted not in one large room partitioned into smaller spaces, rather by giving each process a dedicated space. Moreover, we rearranged our equipment, without fixing them, in accordance with the times to achieve this current set-up. You will find that in our factories, products are manufactured only partially with machines, and don’t fully rely on automation.
The different parts of the “muro”, the wooden koji producing-machine, are operated electrically. The machine is equipped at the “Shikomikura”, a preparation warehouse. Our craftmen handle this machine routinely, entrapped in the harsh environment of 45 degrees Celsius and 60% humidity for 3 days and nights. Our most appealing building is definitely the “Moromigura”, the northernmost warehouse in our site, which is used for fermentation and low-temperature storage. The sight of 24 cedar casks lined up alongside each other is astonishing, and you will also see casks inside that are larger than even the entrance. Those casks were assembled inside the building by cask-makers especially employed by our company.
Our old factory buildings are still used to this day. You can feel the bacteria that has grown on the walls over time, and experience both the past and present at the same time.
Our garden has been preserved for over 100 years, since our fourth generation head Takahashi Mosuke (birth name Hikoshiro) designed it. There are photos of Mosuke standing alongside his wife, Aki, on display in our warehouse. Besides learning about our company, the “Yamamo Garden Tour” will also show you how the Iwasaki District and the Takahashi Family, our company’s founding heritage, have prospered together overtime. The Iwasaki District has preserved the tragic legend of Princess Noe, one of Akita’s three famous legends that tell of Minase River’s bountiful supply of water, which caught the attention of our company’s founder to use that water as one of our ingredients. We have a stroll garden with a pond in the center, which features a water god shrine to honor our indespensable resource: the abundant underground water that flows from the Minase River. The garden is so elaborately designed that the level stones and miniature curved trees appear to create a rhythm through the garden.
When Mosuke the 5th (birth name Kiichiro) was head of our company, the water in the pond depleted, and a heavy snowfall damaged some of the trees in the garden. For that reason, we put efforts into reinforcing our garden – preserved by our consecutive leaders – so that it could withstand against snow. The garden, open to visitors, features the historical path that has been preserved as it was back then, but also features a contemporary path that is a more recent addition. With a brand-new pond at the entrance of the garden, the stream connects both the existing and the new ponds to represent the affluent water resource that exists in our company.
A brewery with the four seasons of a snowy region in the background. We hope you will be able to feel what our many owners cherished about our brewery, such the rich water melted from the Minase River during early spring and a Japanese garden with beautiful background scenery–a simple, untouched beauty.
In 2015, our 7th generation head went to Seattle as a member of a program aimed to foster the next generation’s leaders of the food and agriculture industry. Since then, we have been putting forth efforts in growing our ingredients in our own fields. Thus, we also have the “Yamamo Field Tour”, through which visitors can be reminded of what it feels like to be alive, with hands-on experiences of touching soil.
At that time, we also spearheaded the innovative “Yamamo Sustainable Field” Project, which transforms abandoned land into arable fields for growing our ingredients. We hope this project will make our business sustainable for future generations. We were impacted by how formerly unused land could be revived, and named the field in the honor of our 4th generation head Hikoshiro and his wife, Aki, calling it the “4th Generation Field.” Ever since, the field is used to grow soy beans, our staple ingredient.
We have put great emphasis on seeding, growing, and harvesting, all of are which carried out by the tight collaboration of our employees. In operating our business, we have carefully implemented each process of our production to be sustainable for the next generation, evident by our belief that “mindfulness equals love”: we hope that people will continue to grow from their roots and live on.
※ We ask that visitors younger than 16 be accompanied by a guardian. Overall, photography is permitted during the tour, but you will be asked to refrain from taking photographs in certain areas. Please note that the Field Tour is subject to be cancelled for bad weather, and that photographs or videos of you may be included in media reports.