I spent my first day in Nagoya visiting Maruya Hatcho Miso Factory!
Miso is a slow-fermented soybean paste with a strong salty flavor that contains high protein and rich in vitamin and mineral. Hatcho miso is the darkest form of miso, almost black in color. It tastes like an aromatic soy sauce but tough like a clay (similar with terasi in Indonesia).
Miso is essential ingredients that used for cooking in Japan. Breakfast is not a breakfast without miso soup in Japan. Besides soup, you can make miso as dressing or for marinated your dishes.
Maruya Hatcho miso has been operating since 1337. It ‘s one of the oldest Miso factory in Japan. The factory was located near Okazaki Castle, in the central of the Mikawa district of Aichi prefecture (around 60km east of Nagoya city). “Hatcho” itself refers to the fact that the miso factory was 8 blocks from the castle (“ha” meaning 8, and “cho” meaning one city block).
Maruya Hatcho miso was made according to traditional methods. Pure soybeans are washed, steamed, and then mashed. The mashed soybeans will be dusted with koji (the fermenting agent used in miso and soy sauce manufacture) and then mixed with pure sea salt and natural spring water, resulting a miso mixture. The miso mixture then will be placed in a large wooden barrel that made from Japanese cedar woods. After the barrel filled with miso mixture, it will be sealed with a lid. Around 600 pieces of stones from Yahagi river will placed in a pyramid shape on the top of barrel, to compress the miso mixture and squeeze out the excess water. After that, miso mixture will be ‘sleep’ for 3 years to slowly mature through the humid summers and mild winters, and then complete the fermenting proccess.
After completing the fermenting process and becoming the mature miso, miso is ready to pack. You can bought miso or it’s derivative product at the factory store.
For visiting Maruya Hatcho Miso factory, take JR Tokaido Line train from Nagoya Station to Toyohashi and stop Okazaki Station, and then transfer to Aichikanjo Tetsudo train and stop at Nakaokazaki station. It will take 45 minutes for arrived. JR Pass only covered the JR Tokaido Line, so you have to pay 260 yen once your arrived at Nakaokazaki station for the Aichikanjo Tetsudo train.
The tour is in Japanese, but thanks to google translate, I can communicate with my super friendly tour guide! The tour available from 09.00-16.00, and free of charge.