Happy Donabe Life

Tag Archives: Travel – Japan

Dashi Experience at Uneno

July 25, 2018

Uneno, a traditional dashi company was established more than 120 years ago in Kyoto City. I have been using their dashi products for more than 10 years at my home and have always admire their philosophy of offering the top quality ingredients sourced from sustainable environments.

The 4th generation husband-and-wife team, Motofusa and Yoshiko generously hosted my visit at their shop and factory.

At their factory, every katsuobushi is processed with much care by hand. Before shaving katsuobushi, they are steamed in the traditional wood steamer.

Then, they are shaved one by one by their motor-operated machines which are over 100 years old. The blades are made of iron and sharpened by hand every day.

At their shop, they have a special room for cutting kombu for dashi. After kombu is dried and aged, they are cut by hand in this room. Because kombu is one of the offerings for Shinto Gods and considered sacred, you are not allowed to enter this room with shoes on. Uneno offers their kombu to historic shrines and temples in Kyoto.

Look at the Rishiri Kombu before it’s cut!

Dashi tasting session. I learned so much. Dashi made with Uneno’s ingredients are always so delicious and special.


Happy donabe life.



Vinegars by Iio Jozo

April 5, 2018

Back in March, I visited Iio Jozo, a 120+ year-old vinegar producer, located in Miyazu, Kyoto. Now the company is run by Akio Iio, the 5th generation of the family. He and his father (4th generation gave us a tour of their sake brewery and vinegar making facility.

At Iio Jozo, rice for their rice vinegar is cultivated 100% organic by the local farmers and every process of vinegar making, starting from brewing sake, is done by hand in their premises. While those conventional (inexpensive) rice vinegar by large producers are often made from cheap sake (made from lesser quality/ old/ broken rice) and takes just one day to produce, at Iio Jozo, their rice vinegar is made from their premium sake and takes about 1 year to make it.

The amount of rice used for making their Premium Rice Vinegar is 320 g/ liter. That’s 8 times as much of the rice normally used for conventional rice vinegar. So, their Premium Rice Vinegar has extra rich flavor with round umami.

Here are some of the photos from the visit.

I’ve been a big fan of Iio Jozo’s vinegars, and after learning so much more about their vinegar making process and philosophy, I love them even more. Iio Jozo’s vinegars are available at TOIRO website.


Happy donabe life.



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