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Discovering Dashi, the Basis of Japanese Cuisine, in Makurazaki City
Nakahara Suisan Co., Ltd. • Kagoshima
"In sunny Makurazaki, discover how katsuobushi (dried skipjack tuna), the crucial ingredient in dashi soup stock, is indispensable to Japanese food culture."
Visit Makurazaki City, Japan's leading producer of dried skipjack tuna, for a katsuobushi factory tour and dashi workshop that sheds light on this ubiquitous Japanese ingredient. During this dashi experience, you will dive deep into the world of umami-rich dashi soup stock, which forms the backbone of many traditional Japanese dishes, starting with a tour of the katsuobushi factory. Watch the transformational journey of skipjack tuna as it is cut and boiled, the bones removed by hand, smoked, sanded, fermented, and finally dried in the sun.

After seeing the processing facilities and hearing a detailed explanation of each step, you’ll come to understand that there is a long and laborious process to produce something as seemingly simple as soup stock. Katsuobushi is an ingredient that is taken for granted in all manner of dishes, from soba dipping sauce to oden, but it is essential in Japanese cuisine nonetheless.

After the factory tour, a dashi workshop is held where participants can shave katsuobushi fish flakes by hand, make a delicious dashi soup stock, taste test different versions of dashi, munch on katsuobushi rice crackers, and learn how dried bonito can be used in a variety of dishes.

In the sparkling port city of Makurazaki, breathe in the concentrated, umami fragrance of katsuobushi, and come to appreciate this deceptively simple ingredient which has become a pantry staple across Japan.

Highlights

  • Visit Makurazaki, known as “Katsuo Town” and learn about katsuobushi, an integral part of Japanese cuisine
  • Tour a katsuobushi factory and learn about each step in the production of dried bonito
  • Enjoy a dashi making workshop, including hands-on cooking portion and tasting

Inclusions

  • Tour of katsuobushi factory
  • Dashi making workshop
  • Try katsuobushi rice crackers
  • Bag of katsuobushi fish flakes as a souvenir