Healthful and delicious, miso is a distinctively Japanese seasoning that has grown increasingly popular with discerning chefs and diners all over the world. Aichi Prefecture—and the city of Okazaki in particular—is Japan’s miso heartland. Here, hatcho miso (a dark, rich variety of red miso made using only soybeans, salt, and water) is manufactured to this day according to a time-honored fermentation method handed down from over six centuries ago.
Walk the streets of the Hatcho district, with its charming white thatched-roof storehouses straight out of the Edo Period, and you’ll gain a true appreciation for miso’s long and celebrated history. Step inside the shops of the storied manufacturers Maruya (dating back to 1337) and Kakukyu (1645), where you can take a guided tour that will walk you through each step of the fascinating process by which miso is prepared. Marvel at the massive cedar casks and painstaking traditional production techniques. When it’s all through, you’ll have the chance to sample the product, with its rich and savory flavor sure to delight your palate.
After you’ve gained a deeper appreciation of miso and its history, why not walk to the nearby Okazaki Park, lined with numerous restaurants and food stalls, and treat yourself to one of the many specialty local dishes made from hatcho miso? There’s miso katsu (a deep-fried breaded pork cutlet with miso), miso oden (tofu, Japanese radish, and konjac topped in miso), gohei-mochi (grilled, miso-dipped rice cakes), and more.
One thing’s for certain—no lover of Japanese food should miss making the trip to the home of hatcho miso!
Hours: Opening hours for individual shops and factories vary by the facility.
Admission: Miso factory tours are available for free.
Address: Oukan Dori, Hatcho, Okazaki City, Aichi Prefecture
Airport: Chubu Centrair International Airport
Schedule varies by individual shop or factory.
From Nagoya Station, take the Meitetsu Limited Express to Higashi-okazaki Station. From there, transfer to the local train to Okazakikouenmae Station. The Hatcho district is a 5-minute walk from the station.
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