Makurazaki City, located in sunny, sub-tropical Kagoshima, is famous as Japan’s main producer of katsuobushi, dried skipjack tuna. This ingredient is an essential component to dashi soup stock, which is found in a range of dishes from soba to okonomiyaki (savory pancakes). What seems like a very basic ingredient is actually the backbone of Japanese cuisine, and the production of katsuobushi is a long and laborious process.
During this katsuobushi tour, visitors will see how skipjack tuna transforms into katsuobushi, an ingredient that curiously resembles a petrified piece of wood. The tuna is first cut and boiled, then the bones are individually removed by hand, it is smoked in a special chamber and sanded down, before being fermented and dried in the blazing sun.
After this tour of the processing facilities, guests will go to the main store of the katsuobushi producer for a dashi workshop. Guests can get in on the action, shaving the katsuobushi by hand using a special grater, then see how dashi soup stock is made from it. There are different types of dashi, based on katsuobushi, kombu (kelp), shiitake mushrooms, or even a combination of the three. Visitors will get to try a couple different types of katsuobushi-based broths and taste the difference that small tweaks to the recipe can make.
While katsuobushi is an ingredient that is rarely seen in Japanese cuisine (except atop a takoyaki or okonomiyaki, and sometimes, tofu), it is ever-present in a variety of dishes, especially soups and nimono (simmered dishes). Learn about this invisible ingredient which is essential in Japanese cuisine, and find out why it is such an important pantry item in kitchens across the nation.
Tour the katsuobushi factory
Dashi making class
Souvenir: shaved katsuobushi to take home
Meeting Point and Meeting Time
The meeting point is Nakahara Suisan Makurazaki Dashi Main Office (中原水産（株） 本社) located 3 minutes on foot from Makurazaki Station
Please be on time for this experience