See & Try Miso (soybean paste), Nagano’s Specialty, in Traditonal Miso Brewery

September 15th, 2014 by
Category: Cuisine, Experience

Large (taller than human height) wooden barrels to ferment miso

Old buildings along the approach

I visited Ishii Miso Brewery in Matsumoto. It was founded in 1868 (the end of the Edo era) and is still producing miso by a unique traditional natural method.

Miso, soybean paste, is an essential ingredient in Japanese cuisine. We have miso soup every day and sometimes use it for other dishes. Miso is fermented food so it is very healthy.

Ishii's shop and restaurant

Nagano Prefecture is the top producer of miso (46%) in Japan. There are many miso breweries in Nagano and some of them have their own shop.

Miso soup, and "miso ice cream" for dessert of lunch

Especially in Ishii Miso Brewery, you can see inside the brewery and have a lunch containing miso soup, salad with miso dressing, rice balls, and even ice cream using their miso.

Miso used to be made in homes.  But now, many Japanese don’t know or find out how to make miso.

Their product, "3 year miso"

A special point of this brewery is that they ferment miso over three years. Normal cheap ​mass-produced miso is fermented only a few months in a factory. Their 3 year miso‘s taste is much deeper and yummier than normal miso.

They use wooden barrel​s to ferment miso, which is also unique. Normally the barrel​s are plastic or metal, but wooden barrel​s enable air to permeate so they are good for fermentation.

The sixth president of the brewery (handsome guy, I think)

Ishii Miso is located 15 minutes walk from Matsumoto Station and near Matsumoto Museum of Art. It also has a large parking lot that enables even a big tour bus to park. Many foreigners visit this brewery even though it does not appear in guide books and there is no English website. If you visit the famous Matsumoto Castle, I recommend you to visit Ishii Miso, too. Also, visiting Matsumoto Museum of Art to see Kusama Yayoi’s art and stopping by Matsumoto Art Performing Centre building designed by the famous architect Toyo Ito are nice options.

3 Responses to “See & Try Miso (soybean paste), Nagano’s Specialty, in Traditonal Miso Brewery

  1. Thank you for the precious information! I would like to visit the shop. I wonder if we could see their factory, or Kura? It would be very interesting if visitors could have a look inside their work place with that wooden barrel…

  2. Mariko-san,
    You can see the wooden barrels in the Kura where they keep the miso for three years during 8am – 5pm. A worker explains their barrels and miso if you want. I think it is worth visiting for both Japanese and foreigners.

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