Shoyu: The Various Types Of Japanese Soy Sauces

  • People, from long time ago, have always been searching for different ways of preserving foods. One thing they discovered was the use of salt, which was not only good for preservation but for enhancing flavour as well. The ultimate rich liquid seasoning which was used in place of salt to add flavor to food was soy sauce. People say it was a way of stretching salt due to its expensive price in the past. Soy sauce originated from China and is originally called “jiangyou.” The soybeans are used as the main ingredient.


    From China, soy sauce eventually spread to Japan. It was introduced by the Buddhist monks and in the 7th century, soy sauce in Japan became known as “shoyu.” Now there are five traditional types of Soy Sauce that are used in Japan.

    1. Koikuchi (Thick Taste)


    The dark Japanese soy sauce is called “koikuchi,” and originated from Kanto region. It has a deeper colour and its taste is quite light. This is considered to be the typical Japanese soy sauce. It is best used for marinades and basting sauces.

    2. Usukuchi (Thin Taste)


    Usukuchi is lighter in color due to the use of amazake, a Japanese drink made from fermented rice. It originated in Kansai region. This type is normally saltier.

    3. Tamari


    In comparison with koikuchi, “tamari” is darker in color and richer in flavor. This is the “original” Japanese soy sauce. It is made mainly in Chubu region of Japan. This types is often used for sashimi.

    4. Shiro (White)


    The light appearance of “shiro” is due to very little soybeans used. It is mostly made from wheat and the taste is sweeter.

    5. Saishikomi

    This is a darker and richer soy sauce, saishikomi is known as “twice-brewed” because of its nature. It is made from koikuchi instead of the normal brine.

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