Katagami?san’s love and knowledge for soy sauce is endless

Katakami Soy Sauce Brewery (Gose, Nara Prefecture)

Hiroyuki Katagami?san’s personality is reflected in his soy sauce. His love for soy sauce evokes a gentle ambience. From talking and producing soy sauce, to stepping into the moromi, it is easy to admit that he is a “glutton.” It can be generally agreed?upon that any type of handmade soy sauce is unique. I would recommend to those who are looking for soy sauce that is slightly different from the ordinary.

Non?fat processed soybeans is not bad!

Katagami Soy Sauce Brewery uses “non?fat processed soybean” instead of “raw soybean.” 80% of the soy sauce production nationwide uses non?fat processed soybeans, while other soy sauce breweries say, “Non?fat processed soybeans are just pressed soybeans…That’s why we don’t use them!” However, this is just a rumor, and Katagami?san believes, “Non?fat beans are not bad!”

“I don’t want to lower the position of the non?fat soybean, and raise the status of the whole soybean,” says Katagami?san. He then thoroughly explained to me the goodness of the non?fat soybean.

“It is by no means just liquid runoff,” says Katagami?san. When he continued clarifying the non?fat soybean, I could feel the emphasis in his words.

If you talk about soy sauce with Hiroyuki Katagami?san, it will be endless.

The structure of Katagami Brewery’s steam machine is not fit for raw soybeans, rather, for non?fat soybeans. At the bottom of the steamer, there is a hole with a mesh?like net that catches any unwanted debris or scum. Katagami?san explains, “Domestic soybeans are delicate. The time to soak and the time to steam are different depending on when the beans were harvested.”

“The most nerve?wracking procedure in the whole soy sauce process is making koji (naturally?occurring mold grown on beans). The koji?making is different each time depending on temperature, humidity, and the bean’s characteristics. I spend two nights sleeping next to the koji room to ensure nothing goes wrong. I am relieved when the koji turns out well, but it’s always a serious game,” says Katagami?san.

“We will prepare the soy sauce from January to May, and the fermentation happens from June to July. Those prepared in January have 6 months to ferment, whereas the ones prepared in May only have 1 month to ferment. With that in mind, what kind of ingredients should you prepare for?” states Katagami?san.

Soy sauce contains about 16% salt and 20% extract. In fact, 1/3 of the content is solids. Over long fermentation periods, microorganisms will dissolve away, but Katagami Brewery is unsure of how much is dissolved. Katagami?san says, “For those involved in brewing, it’s a terrible romance. So we will not dilute the soy sauce, in order to keep the balance amongst microorganisms.”

Soy sauce?making is a demerit system

“There is such a thing called ‘beginner’s luck’,” said Katagami?san, “At first, I was able to make soy sauce very well, but after that, I’ve been trying to aim for the same quality over a hundred times.”

When making soy sauce, Katagami?san believes it’s best to have a demerit point system mindset, “Raw materials are at 100 points. It is important to reduce the number of demerits from steaming the soybeans, making the koji, or fermenting.” When preparing better raw materials and leaving the work for the microorganisms, I am trying not score points, but rather, trying not to lose them.”

“When steaming domestic soybeans, it smells really fragrant!” says Katagami?san, “And since we want the customer to say, ‘I grew and harvested this bean!’ we try to use local raw materials. That is why I use soybeans from Nara Prefecture.”

“There will be some points taken throughout the soy sauce?making process, no matter how hard I try. I cannot add points. But I will only get to keep the 100 points if the flavor and quality is consistent.”

Although the contents of soy sauce?making are complicated, Katagami?san explains it clearly through animated hand gestures.

“Depending on the differences in aging periods and the different characteristics of the beans, the moromi (main fermented mash) will also vary. However, this kioke (a large wooden barrel) is the most reliable one in this building. I leave the most difficult soy sauce with this one!” said Katagami?san, as he firmly pats the side of the tub.

Realizing the decrease in products

Katagami?san is pursuing the same soy sauce batch that he made the first time, “I am working with dark soy sauce, light soy sauce, re?fermented soy sauce, and tamari soy sauce (made without wheat). But the warehouse that is brewing these four kinds is quite unusual. Because the method of preparation and management are different for each, you need knowledge, perseverance, and curiosity to make them. It is very difficult and troublesome.”

And rather than making similar soy sauce, each brewery is creating soy sauce that is unique to them. Those who want to open their own ramen shops will not be disappointed when using these unique soy sauce tastes.

Katagami?san’s glutton soy sauce


Naturally?brewed soy sauce

Dark soy sauce with a heavy, but delicious taste is made with soybeans from Nara Prefecture. Katagami?san says, “When you finish using this soy sauce, and switch to another brand, I would like you to say, ‘I’m glad I used this soy sauce!’”

Price: \381 + tax
Ingredients: soybeans, wheat, salt


Light soy sauce with a focus on umami (savory)


Light naturally?brewed soy sauce

Self?stated “glutton,” Katagami?san challenges to overcome the weak umami taste in light soy sauce. He focuses on the balance of umami, scent, and taste, while maintaining the pale color. This soy sauce pairs well with white fish such as sea bream, flounder, and cuttlefish.

Price: \428 + tax
Ingredients: soybeans, wheat, salt


The rich soy sauce enhancing the flavor of steak


Layers of soy sauce

Layers of soy sauce

Price: \581 + tax
Ingredients: soybeans, wheat, salt


Pushing the limits of moromi


Self?use tamari soy sauce

General soy sauce is prepared using heavy stones, the same way as miso. For this tamari sauce, I make it the same method as the dark soy sauce by increasing the proportion of soybeans, and reducing the proportion of water. This tamari sauce that is an extension of dark soy sauce.

Price: \581 + tax
Ingredients: soybeans, wheat, salt


For skilled?chefs who would like to use it for rice balls and grilled meat


Blue soy sauce

Using Saito?san’s blue soybean from Roots Farm in Shibetsu, Hokkaido, this dark soy sauce is brewed in Katagami?san’s kioke barrels in Nara Prefecture. “Blue soybeans” are difficult to cultivate and manage, and all the harvesting is done manually. Its very existence is very precious.

Price: \581 + tax
Ingredients: soybeans, wheat, salt


Sanontou is the secret for this end?of?the?year sweet soy sauce


Roasted rice cake soy sauce

Only once a year, Katagami?san makes the special soy sauce that is full of sugar. This soy sauce has an elegant sweetness that is difficult to obtain.

Price: \581 + tax
Ingredients: soybeans, wheat, sanontou (dark sweet liquid produced in sugar refining processes), sun?dried salt



Katakami Soy Sauce Brewery

329 Morikawa, Oaza, Gose, Nara Prefecture 〒639-2318
TEL:0745-66-0033  FAX:0745-66-1933