Tour Maebashi, Gunma’s Fermentation City, by Scenic Local Railway
Maebashi Tourism Convention Association • Gunma
"Travel by local train in Gunma to visit local businesses that produce two celebrated fermented foods of Japanese cuisine: soy sauce and natto."
It’s hard to imagine Japanese cuisine without fermentation, which plays a key role in the essential soy sauce and the divisive natto (fermented soybeans). In Gunma prefecture’s Maebashi City, discover the delights of these two flavorful fermented ingredients, traveling by local railway with a view of the scenic Japanese countryside rolling by.

During this fermentation tour, you’ll visit a factory where soy sauce has been produced for over a hundred years. Housed in the original building, they have continued making soy sauce using the same wooden barrels for a hundred years. These barrels are home to a precious ecosystem of natural yeast and lactic acid bacteria, without which the soy sauce would not taste the same. Today, the traditional soy sauce brewing method of using wooden barrels accounts for only around 1% of soy sauce production, making this a special opportunity for a rare soy sauce tasting.

You’ll also visit a local family-run natto business and learn how they turn regular soybeans into the sticky and pungent fermented beans—a beloved breakfast staple in Japan. Then join in on the action and help prepare a batch of natto with traditional techniques, like wrapping it in wara (straw). You’ll be helping the family business and learning everything there is to know about this popular health food!


  • Travel by local train to visit different fermentation sites
  • Visit an over 100-year-old soy sauce factory with original barrels
  • Learn how natto is made and prepare a batch using traditional techniques


  • Soy sauce factory tour
  • Soy sauce tasting
  • Natto making experience with a local family business