Okui Kaiseido

Where first-rate restaurants source their kombu

By Sherilyn Siy    - 1 min read

There are two pillars of umami, or savory taste, in Japanese cuisine: katsuobushi (bonito) and kombu (kelp). First-rate restaurants source the highest quality kombu from only one shop: Okui Kaiseido, which was founded in 1871 in Fukui Prefecture. During the Edo Period, Fukui was the midpoint between the ancient capital of Kyoto and Hokkaido. Ninety percent of Japan's kombu is sourced from Hokkaido where the cool water is essential its cultivation. The company used to trade shakudani, a volcanic rock found only in Fukui Prefecture, with Hokkaido's kombu, and at the Nihonbashi branch, the very same shakudani rocks make up the shop's flooring. In 2013, Kombu was added to UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Browse the wide variety of kombu products at the store and by adding kombu to a dish, you increase its nutritional profile with iodine, calcium and iron. Kombu makes a uniquely Japanese gift or souvenir and the shop has beautiful washi boxes to wrap your gifts in.

Getting there

Easy access from Exit A7 of Mitsukoshimae Station of the Ginza Line or Hanzomon Line. Head towards COREDO.

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Sherilyn Siy

Sherilyn Siy @sherilyn.siy

For Sherilyn Siy, Asia is home. Born in Hong Kong, Sherilyn spent time in the Philippines, China, and now lives in Japan. She speaks English, Filipino, Chinese (or putonghua), and Hokkien, her family's local dialect. Running is one of her favorite ways to explore Japan. She proudly finished the 2015 Tokyo Marathon -- her first ever full marathon -- in 4 hours and 37 minutes. She was absolutely psyched when she got selected again to run the new Tokyo Marathon route in 2018. She hopes to complete other races in Japan.