Vinegar, along with sake came to Japan in the 5th century. Vinegar was first produced from rice but in the early 19th century, the founder of the Mizkan vinegar company, Matazaenon Nakano, discovered a way to make vinegar from sake lees, a by-product of sake brewing.
Sake was already produced in Handa, a small town on the east coast of the Chita Peninsula, south of Nagoya city, so raw materials were in abundance.
The "Su-no-sato" Vinegar Museum is located in one of the large, black, wooden buildings that make up Mizkan's present-day production facility.
A visit to the museum is free and consists of a 30-minute video on the history and health benefits of vinegar (it reduces cholesterol) and then a 30-minute tour of the museum, which displays the manufacturing process used in the Edo Period and that in use today.
Vinegar was used in making nigiri sushi (hand rolled sushi), which was beginning to become popular in Edo (Tokyo). Edo-period sushi was about three times bigger than contemporary sushi and was sold at stalls to customers who ate it standing up or on the go. Nakano's vinegar was transported by the boat-load up to Edo, guaranteeing the fortune of the family business and launching an international condiment conglomerate in the process.
Museum of Vinegar
Tel: 0569 24 5111
Su-no-sato is a short walk east from either Meitetsu Chitahanda Station or JR Handa Station. Take a JR or Meitetsu train from Nagoya Station.
Japan vinegar museum Nagoya Aichi
Monday, January 14, 2008