Eat, learn, experience, play and shop at the innovative (Fueki Shoyu) Kinbue Soy Sauce Park, Kawajima Town, Saitama
The outstanding Kinbue Soy Sauce Park will open on Saturday, November 16th 2019. The park from the legendary Fueki Shoyu creates an interactive recreational space for visitors where you can eat, learn, experience, play and shop. Update 2020: a Baum Kuchen shop opened on the premises in April. Update 2021: you need to book the factory tour in advance during the pandemic, but same day is ok.
The soy sauce factory itself is a well established highly renowned soy sauce producer, Fueki Soy Sauce. This soy sauce park comes on the 230th anniversary of the company. It is one of many incentives by the current head and his team of workers to propagate the traditional soy sauce industry…
About Kinbue Soy Sauce
Kichigoro Fueki is the 12th generation head of Kinbue Shoyu**. His wife, Koharu, is the brewery publicist. They are a dynamic duo whose dedication to the family legacy is as pure as it is honorable. You can see that their endeavors have instilled great pride in the staff; pride of their company, their product and their work.
**Shoyu, also written syoyu, is the Japanese for soy sauce. Kinbue is the product, Fueki is the company
And well they might be proud. For one, Fueki Shoyu are in the one percent of soy sauce producers that hand craft their sauces using traditional wooden barrels. They revived a dying trade in the process by commissioning the best coopers in Japan to create a type of barrel that hadn’t been made in fifty years. Moreover, their natural soy sauce is enriched with organic ingredients from Saitama based farms.
Another impressive fact is that while other soy sauce producers have felt the pressure to move to shorter fermenting periods and hence lower overheads, Fueki producers prevail and continue to use long fermentation periods and complex soy sauce producing methods. They even have a double fermented soy sauce, which is critically acclaimed by connoisseurs and super tasters nationwide.
Furthermore, they involve the local community in many of their practices from planting rice to signing barrels and so much more. They strive (and are succeeding) to create awareness of and perpetuate age old traditions of soy sauce production. And this is just a small summary of what the company is about. You can read more about Fueki Shoyu on the English language website.
But without further ado, introducing their latest project, the new park opening on Saturday…
Kinbue Soy Sauce Park
In advance of the opening, I was courteously invited, along with other members of the press and / or tourism industry, to a private preview of the exciting new leisure space in the rural town of Kawajima.
The concept of the soy sauce park is “eat, learn, shop, play”. The former Fueki head office and shop has been transformed into a trendy restaurant, the free factory tour has been upgraded and some new features have been introduced to add to the play factor of a visit to Fueki / Kinbue Syoyu.
The stunning old warehouse style landmark head office and shop has been completely renovated inside creating a stylish two floor restaurant. The menu offers freshly made udon and local dishes including desserts and beverages. And of course, seasonings are Kinbue sauces.
The soy sauce factory tour has been upgraded offering more detail and visibility than before. You actually receive a textbook like brochure upon taking the tour with great detail inside about the production of soy sauce. Currently all material and guidance is in the Japanese language, but some of the staff do speak some English and all are very friendly and helpful.
There will be three guided tours on the opening day: at 10.30 am, 1.30 pm and 3.30 pm. Reservations are not essential for the opening day, but priority is given to those that have booked in advance. If you would like to book a tour in advance you can do so here. **Update 2020 – 2022** During the pandemic you need to book a tour in advance, same day bookings are accepted when places are available.
The shop has actually been made smaller than it previously was, but makes great use of the space that they have. You can peruse the several varieties of soy sauce as well as their other sauces and produce in the shop. If you are eating in the restaurant you can sample them there. Click here for a summary in English of their main products and here for the full list in Japanese.
Last, but not least, the Kinbue Soy Sauce Park has a few points of interest and play equipment for children. Kinbue, or Fueki shoyu as its actually called locally, is a very family and child friendly company. For anyone growing up in Kawajima Fueki is a household name. Kids visit the factory at least once during their years at school.
But now there is another reason why kids will want to visit Fueki Shoyu. The Kinbue Syoyu Park has transformed some of the barrels used in the production process into play items in the kids area. There are also swings, hammocks, a balancing beam and a tepee tent for the kids to play in / with.
In September and early October red spider lilies grow along the embankment behind Fueki Shoyu. They were late blooming in 2020. They only started around the 22nd of September. Photos were taken on a rainy and cloudy day, the 24th of September 2020. There are even more spider lilies all along the embankment up to the locally famous Tenjinbashi, where hundreds of red spider lilies bloom.
I have barely skimmed the surface here. What is listed above is what you get at the site in Kawajima, but there is so much more to Fueki Shoyu than meets the eye. Between a branch shop and restaurant in Kawagoe, collaborations with other shops as well as farmers in various parts of Saitama, and several encompassing projects, Fueki Shoyu is truly a positive force and asset in the local community, Saitama and beyond.
One of the reasons Fueki soy sauce company has survived throughout the ages is their continued drive to give the customer the best. The best ingredients, the best processing, the best product, and the best experience. They are a very accessible, amiable, commendable company which, as you might be able to tell already, have left a very strong impression on me!
Kinbue Soy Sauce Park Information
|Opening:||Saturday November 16th 2019|
Ribbon cutting ceremony 10 am to 10.30 am
|Hours:||Shop: 10 am to 5 pm seven days a week. |
Restaurant: 11.30 am to 5 pm (last order 4.30 pm)
Factory: 10.30 am, 1.30 pm and 3.30 pm
|Address:||660 Kamiigusa, Kawajima, Hiki District, Saitama 350-0152|
The shoyu park is located close to the Kawajima Interchange of the Ken-o expressway. There are three different car parks, plus spaces right in front of the shop and restaurant for visitors with lower mobility. There is also an area for large bus tours to park.
You can get a bus from Kawagoe and Hon Kawagoe stations to Igusa Elementary School. The shoyu park is about a five minute walk from the bus stop. Basically its behind the school and to the right, so if you walk past the school, with the school on your left, and take the first left and walk straight to the T junction, you will see the distinctive building on your right hand side.
They have electric bicycles for rent, including one which can carry a child (mamachari), for 500 yen for one day. Reception hours for renting are from 10 am to 3 pm, but you have until 4.30 pm to return the bike.
Also in Kawajima:
- Japan’s longest rose tunnel at the family friendly Heisei No Mori Park
- The Toyama Memorial Museum
- Bokuranote Dog Cafe
- Lycoris radiata Kawajima
Nearby in Kawagoe:
- About a 10 minute cycle from the shoyu park: The Fukuda Fields of Kawagoe and the Satoyama Initiative