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Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings of Yuasa

A historic town and the birthplace of soy sauce, the most essential item in Japanese cuisine

Yuasa Town in Wakayama Prefecture once prospered as a post-station town on the Kumano Kodo road. It is also well known as the birthplace of soy sauce. It was nationally designated as an Important Preservation District of Historic Buildings in 2006 for its well-preserved townscape, consisting of traditional houses and storehouses with thick mortar walls. These showcase the golden age of the town's development with various commercial and manufacturing industries, including soy sauce production.

Stroll around a town hosting a variety of attractions, including an experience to learn about the history of soy sauce production

The Important Preservation District of Historic Buildings of this town covers an area ranging approximately 400 meters from east to west and 280 meters from north to south. There are numerous spots that represent the area's history, such as houses built in the 1800s, long-established soy sauce factories, old houses converted into inns and cafes, a soy sauce museum and a former public bath house. Some architectural features, such as the white mortar walls of storehouses and latticed sliding doors and windows, add an impressive retrospective feel to the beautiful landscape.

Various ways to enjoy soy sauce: Soy sauce making experience and soy sauce soft-serve ice cream

Yuasa Soy Sauce Ltd. has long manufactured a number of high-quality products through a traditional method using cedar barrels and ingredients produced in Japan. The company offers a fun program for visitors, consisting of a factory tour and hands-on soy sauce making experience of moromi agitation in a barrel. You can also make your own soy sauce using a PET bottle. At Kura Café located on the premises, you can try soy sauce soft-serve ice cream, which is made from their soy sauce along with fresh milk from Kurosawa Farm in Kainan City. It is very popular for its caramel-like taste.

Kinzanji Miso, believed to be the origin of soy sauce

Another specialty of Yuasa Town is Kinzanji Miso, which is believed to be behind the origins of soy sauce. It is quite different from ordinary miso in that it is intended for eating rather than as a cooking ingredient. It is made with rice, soy beans and barley along with koji mold and salt, and fermented with vegetables such as gourds, eggplants, ginger and shiso perilla. It is said that the high-ranking priest named Kakushin brought the production method of Kinzanji Miso back from China during the 13th century, and soy sauce was inadvertently created during its process.

Kokoku-ji Temple, where Kinzanji Miso started

When Kakushin returned from China after finishing Buddhist training, he was invited to serve at Kokoku-ji Temple located in Yura Town, southwest of Yuasa Town. This is why Kokoku-ji Temple is said to be the place where Kinzanji Miso and the Shakuhachi flute were brought to. Kinzanji Miso became famous in Yuasa and other areas while soy sauce, made from leftover liquid in the barrel, spread nationwide. The temple is also known as "Tengu Temple" as there is a legend that says a "tengu" (mythical demonic creature) rebuilt this temple over the course of one night.


Name Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings of Yuasa
Website https://en.visitwakayama.jp/venues/venue_10/
Address 37 Yuasa, Yuasa-cho, Arida-gun, Wakayama (Okasho in the Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings)
Access Approximately 15 minutes' walk from Yuasa Station on the JR Kisei Main Line
Approximately 5 minutes' drive from the Yuasa IC on the Yuasa-Gobo Road
(Important Preservation District of Historic Buildings)
Inquiries TEL: 0737-22-3133 (Yuasa-cho Tourism Association)

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