Grocery Store “Iseoto”

By Kikki - Last updated: 土曜日, 1月 25, 2014 - Save & Share - Leave a Comment


Grocery Store “Iseoto”



A long-established grocery store famous for the finest dried bonito


When you pass through in front of “Iseoto,” you will be attracted with tasty fragrant of “dejiru” soup stock. “Iseoto” is a long-established grocery store which has started business in Meiji 8 (1875).

Their most popular merchandise is dried bonito from Makurazaki in Kagoshima prefecture. Only selected bonitos caught by single-hook fishing are used as material and carefully processed in several months or sometimes in a year by experienced workmen. “Makurazaki” dried bonito gives something different good fragrant extracted from these selected original materials.


A brief history of “Iseoto”

Old photo of “Iseoto” in Nihonbashi.A cask with trade mark   had been used as a container for dried bonito while between the end of Edo and Meiji periods. (replica)


Actual foundation of “Iseoto” dates back to the end of Edo period. The founder of “Iseoto” had started his wholesale store for dried bonito in Bunkyu Era (1861-1863) at Kobune-cho, Nihonbashi, Edo (the present Tokyo).

Their grocery store was opened at north end of Nihonbashi-muromachi in Meiji 8 (1875) which is registered as their foundation but completely destroyed by “Kanto Earthquake.” In addition, their reconstructed store was also damaged by the “Tokyo air-raid” on March 11, 1945.

Since its foundation, “Iseoto” has always kept guarantee of quality on their merchandise, and taken responsibility for Japanese dietary culture through selling best choice of food products from all over Japan.

Their branch store has opened in a few years after the war in Ameyoko, Ueno.

When you visit “Iseoto,” they serve a cup of “dashi-cha” tea on free of charge.



Along with dried bonito, “konbu” dried sea tangle and “shiitake” dried mushroom are considered as other two of the three basic materials for Japanese soup stock. “Shiitake” mushrooms are also sun dried, and “konbu” sea tangles are gathered at well known seashores in Hokkaido.


Shaved dried bonito sold at “Iseoto” are never frozen even in the freezer


“Iseoto” in Ueno always sells “hon-kare-katsuobushi” (本枯鰹節) or the best quality of sun-dried bonito without any beautiful package. Without any prepackage, these big-named dried bonito are sold only by weight.

“Hon-kare-katsuobushi” (本枯鰹節), sometimes calls as just “hon-karebushi” (本枯節) is the best quality of dried bonito for soup stock in Japanese quinine, which has molding processing more than three times.

“Hongare-katsubushi” sold at “Iseoto” are processed in traditional method by experienced workmen, which repeats the cycle of molding and sun drying more than three times to dry out any water from the bonito.

They are the best quality of dried bonito because only selected material are used, which were caught in inshore fisheries by single-hook fishing, and processed by experienced workmen in more than one year. As well as its taste, beautiful amber color and fragrance of “hon-karebushi” has a flavor of the best quality.


“Kezuri-bushi” shaved dried bonito has three different types depending on its shaving level, such as “oh-ara” (大荒) rough shaving, “chu-ara” (中荒) medium shaving, and “kona”(粉) fine shaving. And “Iseoto” never do general style of steaming before shaving, so their shaved dry bonito are not frozen even in the freezer. Actually, steaming process usually done to make it easier for shaving by making it softer, which also protects shaving blades. At the same time shaved bonito increase its weight with water. Once processed by steaming, shaved bonito loses its original taste and flavor, but gets something different smell. Packs of shaved dry bonito sold in other general stores are usually processed in steaming.


Free sharpening service for shaving blades

Special brand of shaving blades are best   choice for present. The blade for each shaving is adjusted for choice of   customers.

They provide free sharpening for bonito shaving blades, which must have a carved seal of “Iseoto.”Adjustment of any parts on bonito shaving is also given without any charges.However, additional few days are required while busiest season in December.


Grocery Store “Iseoto”
Address: 〒110-0005
Ueno 6-4-10, Taito-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Phone: 0120-10-8888
Fax: 03-3831-4954
Business hours: 9:00-19:00
Closed on: New Year Holidays


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Posted in Cool Tours, Tokyo, Travel, Ueno • • Top Of Page
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