Experiencing Delicious Japanese Ramen using Naturally two-year aged brewed soy sauce at Kawagoe
We had a chance to visit the traditional Japanese soy sauce factory – Matsumoto and tasted the delicious Ramen was made from this soy sauce at Underground Ramen restaurant in Kawagoe. We have gained a lot of valuable knowledge behind one of the most popular food – Soy Sauce Ramen in Japan and 1 of the five traditional spices(sugar, salt, vinegar, soy sauce, miso) used to make it- the Soy sauce.
Over 250 years history - Matsumoto Soy sauce
They told us that Matsumoto Soy sauce store has been there since the Edo period, which is about 250 years ago. Unlike other soy sauce producers, they have been implementing the traditional method of production. The tools that they are using currently have been used since they first opened the store. Within a batch of production, they usually produce around 6000 liters of soy sauce. The secret behind the delicious soy sauce lies in the natural way of gathering the soy sauce mold inside of their storage room and the domestically produced ingredients from Japan. They also use underground waters for production.
How soy sauce has been made
Did you know that to produce soy sauce, you only need three ingredients? Just with soybeans, salt and wheat, you will be able to make it. We will be listing out the secrets behind Matsumoto soy sauce’s famous soy sauce. Unlike other producers that have been using machines to produce soy sauce, Matsumoto soy sauce has still maintained using the traditional method, with nature and human effort. Here are the steps to create their famous soy sauce:
1. First, they prepare the ingredients. They soak the soybeans in water and roast the wheat.
2. When they are done with the preparation, they will steam the soaked beans until it softens and crushes the roasted wheat into grains.
3. Then they combine the mashed beans and grains along with “seed mold” to fermentate the soy sauce mix. They put the liquids into big barrels inside the mold culturing room and let them fermentate for three days.
4. After they are done with the fermentation process, they will mash these liquids and brine them to give a taste for a minimum of a year.
5. Next, they press down these liquids and extract them from the remaining mashed beans and grains. The liquid now is the soy sauce that we are familiar with. For the non-liquid leftover, they normally feed it to cows.
6. With the final soy sauce, they heat it one more time before the distribution process. Then they will send some samples for laboratory testing.
7. Finally, with the expected results, they then do the packaging process by inserting the soy sauce into bottles.
Inside the store, we noticed that not only the regular soy sauce but they also sell other types of soy sauce. For example, the ‘Togarashi’ soy sauce with a spicier taste that is mostly bought by Thai visitors.
They also sell the 1year soy sauce, 2years soy sauce, and even raw soy sauce that have different tastes. Besides soy sauces, they also sell miso, Japanese alcohol, and even other types of pickled vegetables. They actually self-produced the miso they are selling. Miso actually requires the same ingredients like soy sauce, just the ratios are different. Miso uses lesser water and time to produce than soy sauce. We found the soy sauce flavored ice cream they are selling quite interesting. You can taste the original ‘Hatsukari Shoyu Kouji’ flavored ice cream for only 350 Japanese Yen.
Company and Shop Information – Matsumoto Soy Sauce
- Postal Code
- 10-13 Nakacho, Kawagoe City, Saitama
- Open hours
- Monday - Sunday (9 AM - 6 PM)
- Factory Tour
free of charge every day!
Sat. & Sun. & Holidays:1PM, 2PM, and 3PM
- Website (English)
Ramen using Matsumoto soy sauce
Right in front of the Matsumoto soy sauce, there is a ramen store, called the Underground Ramen. It was quite a small restaurant with only 7 seats available from which we can see the owner preparing the meal right in front of us. The store is popular with its Shoyu ramen. The owner mentioned that the ingredients he currently uses such as the dried fish and dried vegetables are bought from the cooperation of the local community, including the soy sauce. As the store is located right in front of the Matsumoto Shoyu factory, he has been using the soy sauce from them for two years. As we actually visited the soy sauce factory, we began to get curious to find out how special the soy sauces are and whether they actually taste good in ramen as we normally associate soy sauce with sushi at least here, in Japan. When compared with other soy sauce, Matsumoto’s one gives out stronger and deepen tastes and scent, hence, with only a little amount, you can taste them alright, said the owner.
Is the location “Underground”?
Underground ramen actually has been part of the Ganja ramen chain for a long time. Hence, they have multiple stores across Japan. The Kawagoe branch that we visited has been there for two years. We actually got curious as to whether they named the store as ‘Underground Ramen’ where the actual location of the store is not underground. The owner mentioned that at first, the store wasn’t doing so well despite the strategic location, making it seems to be located deep down, underground. He has been using the name since then. For a ramen store, three crucial aspects sell them out. The noodle, the soup, and the toppings. For underground ramen, they actually have been using fish-based broth that is combined with other ingredients to give a more refreshing aftertaste. They normally sold out 70-100 bowls of ramen daily. We strongly suggest you not visit them during peak time, from 12 to 2 as you are more likely to have to wait long. Unlike many other restaurants that have been severely impacted by the Corona pandemic, Underground Ramen has stayed still. Sales are not greatly impacted by both lunch and dinner time.
We personally asked the owner for recommendations to foreigners who might be interested to visit the restaurant. He said that typically, Chinese and American foreigners enjoy their Shoyu Ramen, hence, he suggests potential foreigners try it out! We actually tried the famous Shoyu Ramen and agree with his opinion. The Shoyu Ramen actually comes with mild-flavored broth, thin noodles, two pieces of Chashu (Japanese thinly sliced braised pork belly), bamboo shoots, seaweed sheet topped with green onion.
DIRECTIONS AND RESTAURANT INFORMATIONS
After you arrived at Kawagoe Station either from the Tobu-Tojo line or the JR Kawagoe line, you have three ways to visit both Matsumoto Shoyu and Underground Ramen. We will list them out according to their price point (cheapest to most expensive).
1. On foot
With only approximately 20 to 25 minutes of walk, you will arrive at these stores. You can stop by the famous Toki-no-Kane sculpture and enjoy strolling the Ko-Edo area.
2. By bus
We suggest you take the bus from Kawagoe Station. With only 200 Yen per way, you will arrive at the location within 10 minutes.
3. By taxi
We don’t really recommend you take a taxi unless you have money to spare as taxi fare can be extremely expensive in Japan.
- Postal Code
- 10-13 Nakacho, Kawagoe City, Saitama (Right in front of Matsumoto Shoyu)
- Open hours
- Monday - Sunday (11 AM - 7 PM). Close on Wednesday.