Kamebishi is the only manufacturer in Japan who is still keeping the following traditional method to make soy sauce; To culture koji mold on a straw mat for three days and nights always carefully watched without seep and to age the soy sauce in cedar barrels for more than three years. The taste of Kamebishi soy sauce is extremely rich and deep and its saltiness has been “rounded off” to much milder mellow saline taste. Its profound taste is almost like balsamic vinegar. Kamebishi’s oldest moromi (a mixture of koji and brine or mother soy sauce) sleeping in their factory today is 28 years old, which is the oldest soy sauce in the world. (Prepared on 6th June, 1981. When its mother sauce is taken into account it is as old as 30 years old.)
Kamebishiya (Okada Family) started its history in Hiketa town (Kagawa Prefecture) as a general of the Imperial Prince Ikoma of Ako region (Present Hyogo prefecture), who was also the warlord at that time. When Okada’s third generation descendant adopted a child as he did not have any, the family started soy sauce production in 1753. Since then the family business continued and has been passed down for generations and to the present Okada family, the 17th generation. With its long history the buildings of Kamebishi factory site are all historical old samurai residence style and registered as a Natural Cultural Property by the Japanese Government.
Seto Inland Sea Coast has been boasting a soy sauce production using straw mat cultured koji down the ages. (Koji is a mixture of steamed soy beans, roasted and grind wheat and koji mold.) Kagawa prefecture also used to be the largest production area of soy sauce of this method along with Wakayama Prefecture. Especially Hiketa, the town where Kamebishi is located In Kagawa Prefecture, was famous for lodgment port for trading ships sailing around Japan westward. Therefore the soy sauce from this area used to be sent to Osaka and other areas of Japan via trading ships and enjoyed nationwide prominence.
During the prime time of soy sauce production, Hiketa had more than 10 soy sauce manufactures all competing in its quality. Soy sauce production was actively taken place because of Hiketa’s following specialties;
1. Its mild climate of Seto Inland Sea Coast suited for culturing koji.
2. It was also a famous production area of good wheat for famous udon noodle.
3. Plenty of soy beans were available as an off-season crop of rice.
4. Salt was also widely produced after its method had been introduced from Ako area.
However by the decline of shipping industry and industrialization of soy sauce production, factories in Hiketa closed down one after another and today Kamebishi is the only producer who is still in operation.
5 Year aged gluten free soy sauce concentrated so very high yeild