After a memorable first day exploring the sushi restaurants and Banya-gai shopping district, the second day of the tour in the city of Himi promises even more exciting activities that no traveler would want to miss. Join Savor Japan as we delve into the fantastic highlights awaiting on the second day of this journey!
The Experience at Hongawa Touyu Shoten – An Ancient Soy Sauce Shop. Crafting Your Own Soy Sauce.
The second day of the Himi tour commenced with a visit to the long-established soy sauce producer, Hongawa Touyu Shoten. The Yamato soy sauce brand from Hongawa Touyu Honten has a history spanning over 150 years, and the current workshop in Himi alone has stood for 80 years. Positioned in Himi, a coastal city with a prominent fishing port, and in order to inspire the creation of a soy sauce brand tailored for fish-based dishes like sashimi and sushi, Hongawa Touyu Shoten was born. In addition to exploring the store and delving into the history of this venerable soy sauce workshop, visitors also had the unique opportunity to participate in a special experience: crafting their own personalized soy sauce.
Crafting one's own soy sauce involves selecting ingredients from a prepared set, placing them into a glass bottle, and finally adding the Yamato soy sauce. The distinctive characteristics of each ingredient result in unique flavors for the soy sauce, and the combination of types and quantities of ingredients allows each bottle to possess a distinct taste that is unmatched by any other.
To help customers better visualize the flavor profiles of each ingredient, the store thoughtfully provides numerous bottles of soy sauce infused with different ingredients. After tasting, customers can easily identify their preferred flavors and choose the type of ingredients they want to use in creating their personalized soy sauce.
The staff carefully pours Yamato soy sauce into the glass bottle that the customer has filled with their chosen ingredients.
Once the Yamato soy sauce is added to the bottle, the final step involves designing and labeling the packaging for the product. The store has a variety of labels, stickers, and different colored pens ready for customers to freely unleash their creativity in crafting a unique soy sauce label for their creation.
Winery Tour at Says Farm - Where a wine brand not only shines locally but also captivates the global stage!
Says Farm is a comprehensive farm known for producing a wide range of excellent agricultural products, with its most renowned offering being wine. During our tour of the Says Farm winery, we learned about the farm itself and gained insights into the unique wines it produces. Spanning 12 hectares, the expansive grounds exclusively cultivate local grapes, with a focus on creating wines that complement seafood dishes (given Himi's coastal location). The wines from Says Farm are born from and carry the distinctive flavors of this beautiful region.
Wine barrels and apple cider products are crafted during the winter season. The wine at Says Farm is highly sought-after, partly because the annual production is limited compared to the substantial consumer demand. This scarcity adds to the allure of Says Farm wines, making them consistently in high demand among customers.
At Says Farm, after touring the winery and cellar, visitors can directly purchase Says Farm products at the on-site store. In addition to wine, the shop offers various jams, fruit juices, and soaps made from the farm's agricultural produce. These items make for special souvenirs for family and loved ones after exploring the city of Himi.
Moreover, Says Farm also offers restaurant and hotel services for travelers seeking a more extended experience. Notably, the restaurant at Says Farm was featured in the Michelin Guide Japan 2021, making it a worthy destination for experiencing a delightful meal paired with exquisite wines.
Kiyomizu Sushi - A Destination to Experience the Essence of Sushi
The final destination of the two-day journey in Himi concludes with a delectable lunch at the renowned Kiyomizu sushi restaurant. Continuing with the Omakase menu, guests once again experience the essence of this national dish, savoring the exquisite and fresh flavors of seafood sourced directly from the Himi fishing port. Especially noteworthy, the lunch at Kiyomizu Sushi doesn't solely focus on sushi; instead, it features numerous small dishes with a variety of preparations, allowing customers to experience diverse and delightful flavors with each course.
The sashimi portion showcases the specialties of Himi and the broader Hokuriku region, including Amaebi and various yellowtail species, along with the commonly enjoyed tuna and horse mackerel. This selection brings a refreshing burst of flavors. For those familiar with traditional Japanese steamed eggs, the Kiyomizu Sushi introduces a unique twist with the western style steamed egg, where the egg is first steamed softly and then grilled, incorporating mushrooms. This culinary innovation provides a truly captivating dining experience.
The next two dishes introduced by the chef are the Rikuyaki-style grilled Japanese Spanish mackerel (mackerel brushed with sesame while grilling) and Puffer fish tempura, enhanced with a special dashi. Each dish boasts distinctive and delicious flavors, with the aromatic sesame in the grilled mackerel, and the rich, crispy texture of the puffer fish tempura complemented by the sweet and savory dashi, showcasing the refined characteristics of Japanese cuisine.
To culminate the exceptional dining experience at Kiyomizu Sushi, the grand finale is none other than their exquisite sushi selection. The Anago sushi steals the spotlight, presenting a delicate balance of tenderness and aroma, accompanied by a luscious sweet sauce that elevates the sushi to unparalleled heights. Each bite is an extraordinary journey into the world of flavors, where the succulent texture of the Anago combines harmoniously with the depth of the savory-sweet sauce, creating a truly unforgettable sensation.
As the sushi parade continues, the chef showcases the pinnacle of freshness with selections like Fatty yellowtail, Amaebi (sweet shrimp), Bai-gai (Japanese ivory shell), squid, and the richly marbled fatty tuna. Each piece is a masterpiece in itself, meticulously crafted to showcase the unique characteristics of the Himi region.
The symphony of flavors and textures in the sushi courses crescendos into a perfect and unforgettable lunch. The chef's expertise in curating a menu that highlights the best of Himi's seafood, combined with the artful presentation and meticulous preparation, ensures that every guest departs with not just a satisfied palate but with the essence of Himi's culinary excellence etched in their memories.
Disclaimer: All information is accurate at time of publication.