Yugeta Shoyu

Yugeta Shoyu

Yugeta Shoyu is a 100 year old soy sauce maker situated in Saitama Prefecture just outside Tokyo. Yugeta Shoyu’s soy sauce is brewed naturally and uses only Japan-grown wheat and soybeans. Yugeta-san ages the soy sauce moromi (mash) for many of his types of shoyu (soy sauce) in cedar barrels, some over 100 years old.

We first met Yugeta-san, the 4th-generation owner of Yugeta Shoyu, in San Francisco in May 2015 when the idea for The Japanese Pantry was beginning to form. By the end of that year we had visited Yugeta-san twice at his factory to learn about his company and his products. Indeed, one could consider Yugeta-san our first soy sauce sensei (teacher). The following year, as our business got off the ground, Yugeta-san's soy sauce was the first one we imported.

Over the years we've met with Yugeta-san numerous times at his factory, in Tokyo, and here in the US. He's a gregarious businessman with a passion for keeping alive traditional shoyu (soy sauce) making. In 2023 as his family company's 100 year anniversary was approaching, we thought we witnessed a change in Yugeta-san. He had undertaken a deep dive to reflect upon the founding, history, and future of his company. When we visited Yugeta-san in October of 2023, he seemed to possess even more energy and passion about his business. It seems his reflection on the founding and history of his family business has led him to think about what the next 100 years will bring Yugeta Shoyu and what his legacy might be.

He proudly showed us the kioke cedar barrel that he and his colleagues were building using locally-grown wood. With care, a Japanese cedar barrel can last a long time, and Yugeta-san wanted to build something tangible to leave behind for his company's next 100 years. He then showed us an additional 12 cedar barrels he had purchased from another brewery. Naturally he needs somewhere to put these new-to-him cedar barrels, so he then showed us the new aging warehouse that was currently being built. Yugeta-san has some big plans to continue the success of his family's brewery, all while maintaining his dedication to traditional soy sauce brewing methods.

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