Do you know "Iriomotejima-no-Shio"?
It's neither "Ishigaki-no-Shio" nor "Miyako-no-Yukishio", but "Iriomotejima-no-Shio".
Assume many of you haven't heard of this before.
The reason is obvious!
Iriomote-no-Shio is natural sea salt newly launched in Nov 2019!
Its factory has just started manufacturing in Oct 2019 and it's the 1st salt plant in both Iriomote island and Taketomi town.
Though Iriomote-no-Shio is new sea salt, residents in Iriomote have big enthusiasm, affection and expectation in it.
Here, I'm going to introduce this new "Iriomote-no-Shio" made from beautiful sea water of Iriomote island whose 90% land is surrounded by tropical jungle.
Iriomotejima-no-Shio, the 1st salt factory in Taketomi town!
Now there're many kinds of sea salt brands in Japan.
We know about 10 companies in Okinawa main island, 4 in Ishigaki island and some brands such as Chatan-no-Shio, Ishigaki-no-Shio and Miyakojima-no-Yukishio is very famous.
There're NO salt factory in Taketomi town which have most of islands of Yaeyama area, most south-west part of Japan.
Though 360° surrounded by beautiful ocean, Taketomi town hadn't manufactured sea salt. It's surprising, isn't it?!
Salt making was, actually, tried about twice in the past, but it was failed.
In 2019, Mr.Fujimoto and Mr.Ooba of Salt Labo Ishigakijima built the salt factory by themselves!
FYI, they're going to change their company name in near future. (The reason is as bellow.)
Iriomotejima-no-Shio is made from 100% pure, rich sea water of Iriomote island!
The ingredients of Iriomotejima-no-Shio is only natural sea water taken from Iriomote island.
They take sea water from Sonai area, inner part of Iriomote island, and deliver it to the factory.
The ocean of Iriomote island is very beautiful, enjoying color of emerald green, light blue and sky blue, and its transparency is excellent!
Because sea water comes from river running through jungle of Iriomote island, it contains a lot of mineral.
Iriomotejima-no-Shio is made from such precious sea water.
There're 2 types of sea salt because of different way of purification.
One type of the Iriomotejima-no-shio is cooked in boiler.
After concentrating, they crystallize sea water by boiling.
It becomes around 60℃ in the factory because of the steam boiler!
Wow!! It's so hot!!
Crystallized in boiler, it is sun-dried day and night, and done!
Fine-grained sea salt is made by skilled artisan.
The another type of Iriomotejima-no-Shio is completely sun-dried one.
They crystallize sea water into sea salt only by solar drying.
Because it takes about 7 days to dry sea salt, the salt crystal becomes as big as 5mm!
Usual size of salt crystal is about 2 to 3mm. So, it's more than double!
When salt crystal is large, taste becomes very pleasant and smooth.
And as using 100% pure sea water, the salt contains all the mineral of rich ocean.
Iriomotejima-no-Shio, what does it taste like?
We tasted Iriomotejima-no-Shio and was astonished by its flavor!
It has smooth and pleasant salty taste and we were impressed by the aftertaste, it's sweet!
It's surprising to know salt can be such mild and rich flavor.
In Japan, many people consider salt as the cause of high blood pressure, but we heard natural sea salt containing lots of mineral is good for health.
The taste of Iriomotejima-no-Shio is that of rich and fertile ocean of Iriomote island.
Details of the salt factory of Iriomotejima-no-Shio
The Iriomotejima-no-Shio factory is the 1st salt factory in both Taketomi town and Iriomote island.
We could join the opening ceremony, so let us inform you the details of salt factory!
The salt factory in Iriomote island
There located the Iriomotejima-no-Shio salt factory at the foot of jungle.
In this salt factory, the boiler-cooked salt is produced.
Can you imagine this factory was built by hand!?
Yes, Mr.Fujimoto and Mr.Ooba of Salt Labo Ishigakijima made this by themselves on the land where there were no water and electricity.
Wow... how hard!!
Living in a tent like camping, they did all the construction such as foundation work, bricks laying and roofing.
It took about 8 months for them to complete building!
We were just amazed by their efforts...
They made a boiler room by themselves, too!
Greenhouse of Iriomotejima-no-Shio
Right next to the salt factory, they built a greenhouse in order to produce sun-dried salt.
In this greenhouse, 100% pure additive-free sea water is to be crystallized.
The company has adopted the cutting-edge dry technology developed by academia, industry and government.
It'll be really useful if high power drying machine is ready on islands as it's humid throughout the year.
Look forward to a new technology progressing on islands!
Access to the salt factory in Iriomote island
From Uehara port, drive down the prefectural road #215 toward Shirahama area.
After passing Tsuki-ga-hama, you can see red wooden sign of "Kuuru Kobo" on your left. So, turn left at that sign.
If you don't pay much attention, it might be difficult to notice the sign.
You'll see a branch but keep going straight.
Then you can reach to the salt factory!
FYI, if you take a branch, you'll arrive at a fabric studio "Kuuru Kobo". The owner of the studio contributed so much to the launch of salt factory.
Through hardship, Iriomotejima-no-Shio was born
Mr.Fujimoto, CEO of Salt Labo Ishigakijima, told us enthusiastically the attraction of Iriomotejima-no-Shio.
The man in red shirt is Mr.Ooba, who built this factory with Mr.Fujimoto.
And the man in the center and next to Mr.Fujimoto is Mr.Ishigaki, who is the owner of Kuuru Kobo and contributor to construction of the salt factory.
Though the factory was launched in Oct 2019, it had been a series of difficulties.
Mr.Fujimoto had first devoted himself to making a salt factory in Ishigaki island (not in Iriomote island).
When the construction was finished and the salt was about to release, it came to light that the ground water was contaminated and also, he was forced to leave the land because of resort development.
As there were no compensation, he was at a loss.
Through such difficulties, he was lead to Iriomote island thanks to lots of people.
I was very moved by this story...
We'd like you to listen to their history fact to face at the Iriomote salt factory!
This is a photo of the opening ceremony.
We prayed for good business!
Product line-up of Iriomotejima-no-Shio
The Iriomotejima-no-Shio was made with lots of love and hope.
Now 2 types of products are ready.
- Boiler-cooked salt（fine-grained salt）
- Sun-dried salt（Big crystal salt）
It came out in the beginning of Nov in 2019!
At first, the salt for souvenir and restaurant dish was started to sell.
Then they will increase products using Iriomotejima-no-Shio.
We can't wait to see more item!
Product package（Brand design）
Now 1 design is announced.
The color of this package reminds us Awamori (alcohol) of Okinawa!
Tasty design, isn't it?
Where can we get Iriomotejima-no-Shio?
The Iriomotejima-no-Shio was first released at Yaeyama industrial festival from 2 to 3 Nov in 2019.
Great success! The day of 1st release
Many visitors were interested in Iriomotejima-no-Shio as it's the first salt made in Taketomi town and Iriomote island.
All the salt was sold out within the festival.
I took part and helped selling. We got good reputation!
Where can we get the salt now?
Internet shopping was started in HP of Salt Labo Ishigakijima.
And in Iriomote island, the Iriomotejima-no-Shio will be sold at souvenir section of stores in near future.
We're going to update here once it starts selling at stores.
They also plan to bring the salt to Rito(Islands) Fair in main land of Japan, so if you visit there, let's check it!
Look forward to the future expansion of Iriomotejima-no-Shio!
The Iriomotejima-no-Shio is the natural sea salt made by enthusiasm and love of many people.
The precious tropical jungle gives lots of rich mineral to the salt.
How about making use of Iriomotejima-no-Shio as a souvenir of Iriomote island or a tip to make a dish more delicious?
We're looking forward to seeing you enjoy Iriomotejima-no-Shio!
It's exciting! We can't wait to see~!