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湯浅醤油(有)&和歌山マリーナシティ Yuasa Soy Sauce Ltd. & Wakayama Marina City

After the very long day of visiting the Wakayama Castle and various places at Mt.Kouya, this second day of our weekend trip will feel shorter by comparison. Upon waking up early at the temple where we slept overnight at, we prepared to leave for our final two destinations, with an expected return to Kyoto by evening.

At about 11am, we arrived at the Yuasa Soy Sauce company for a tour of their facility. Now, our tour guide spoke in Japanese and it was at a pace in which I can’t keep up with. In combination with the forgetfulness of time, I cannot really tell you much about the history of this place. However, I do think that this place may be where soy sauce was first produced though.

Our class was first led around to the back where we entered the door as pictured above on the left. Inside is a room of gigantic barrels, as pictured above and below. The top of these barrels goes beyond the roof of he first floor, and contained within are fermenting soy sauce.

As you can see, the barrels take up the majority of the space, resulting in really narrow and tight space. If I remember correctly, ever since WWII, the art of making these barrels are now lost. Each of these barrels are unique in their make-up of micro-organisms, which can directly affect the taste of the fermenting soy sauce. Since no one knows how to make these barrels anymore, all we can do today is to repair them in whatever way possible.

Filtering out of the tight room and led upstairs, we were shown the office and also the room that is directly above the room of barrels. As pictured above, the room is pretty big and the pits are in reality the top of the barrels.

Normally, guests were just shown the room through glass windows. However, our guide commented that since we were foreign students that came all the way from America, we were given special permission to go into the room. We were even allowed to try mixing the fermenting soy sauce, in addition to tasting it. While I passed on mixing the soy sauce, I did taste some.

The tour guide explained how the soy sauce were made and a bunch of other stuff. All that I really remember was that soy sauce is a part of the Japanese phenomenon that is “umami”. In basic terms, it is a 5th taste that only the Japanese have. In short, umami needs to be brought out. Soy sauce, like salt, are not eaten by themselves, but they are used to bring out the flavor of other foods. Perhaps those who are experts on the subject can explain it more thoroughly in the comments.

After the tour, the class went to their official store, where they even have soy sauce seasoned ice cream. Now before you try this yourself, the ones we ate were professionally added and mixed in the right amounts. Don’t blame me if you ruin your ice cream.

At 12:30pm, we have finally arrived at our last destination, Wakayama Marina City. Upon stepping off of our bus, this is the view in front of me. Unfortunately, the overcast sky really makes the mood gloomy and unexciting.

Nearby, I found a map with information presented in multiple languages. It seems that there is an amusement park or something similar close by.

I did not know exactly what was it that we were here to see, so I just followed where everybody was going. First, we went through here to get inside. Kuroshio Ichiba…Kuroshio Market?

It turns out that we were here to see this, a dissecting of “maguro”! Maguro means tuna fish by the way, but maguro is just fun to say. This was the first time that I have ever seen a whole tuna fish in person.

As the person with the big katana-like knife cut the tuna into pieces, I could hear the surrounding Japanese people say things like “Oh, that looks sooo good”. After the show was over, I wondered around the market, which was crowded and I didn’t take much photos, but it basically consisted of stalls like this one. There were some typical stores as well.

I found my way out after a bit of wandering around. It turns out that here was the proper main entrance.

Next to the market was this place. And only now do I realize that I never went inside. It seems that they sold ice cream too. Damn it.

Here is another map, in Japanese and shows the entirety of the island. The single red marker is saying “You are here”, and the Kuroshio Market was to the lower right of it. And only now do I realize that I never ventured out beyond the market really…

Well, it is free time until we have to meet up for lunch. A bit later, in the spot up ahead by the tents, a person began to do tricks and stuff you would expect to see in a circus. I absolutely forgot to take any photos, but the person did stuff like putting out a torch by putting it in his mouth and such.

A carnival game thingy where you could win prizes. I didn’t bother with this, but in the back, one of those old looking buildings was actually an arcade center and I spent some time there.

That arcade center was where I got the Fourze Cosmic States Ganbaride cards, of which I played one game with. Now, I did record my first time playing, but the quality of the video was terrible. So instead, here is a video of a Ganbaride commercial for those unfamiliar with the arcade game. One point that I want to make though is that this isn’t the usual fighting game with sticks and buttons to mash. Rather, this is more like you get to watch a battle and occasionally push a button.

Now it is 1:40pm and time to meet up for lunch. This was the restaurant we ate at. The stairs lead to where the restaurant actually is.

A class of students flooded the tables. Everyone was anxious to eat, for many of us, we haven’t had the chance to really eat yet.

What we were going to eat was none other than…maguro! Along with rice and other stuff that I don’t know the name of. I usually don’t like to eat raw foods but this was really good. The other stuff in the small bowls were good as well, although I still don’t know what they were.

At 2:30pm, after everyone has finished eating, we got back onto the bus and headed back to Kyoto. It was on the bus that I realized that I had left my pair of gloves at the arcade center. That was not my day indeed. And with that thought in my head, my weekend trip in Wakayama came to a close.

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