Yuasa is the birthplace of shoyu in Japan, brought from China by a Buddhist monk during the 13th century. The shokunin here still make shoyu using traditional methods in buildings covered in ancient koji, but for how long?

Yuasa miso (Kinzanji) is the town's other product, a sweet paste and almost wine-like in complexity. It’s made by adding kōji to salted soybeans and wheat, then adding finely chopped eggplant, melon, ginger and shiso into the fermenting mixture.

I visited Ota Kyusuke Ginsei a miso factory run by the 72-years-young, Shosuke Ota, and to Kadocho, the shoyu-making facility next door, run by father and son-in-law team Hayato Okabe and Makoto Kano.

Shosuke Ota said something that stuck with me as we walked around his empty home and factory:

“Culture takes three to four generations to develop, but only one to be lost.”

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