Okinawa Tourism Information:Series/IslandBlessing,IslandTastePart32Kachuuyuu

Series / Island Blessing, Island Taste Part 32 Kachuuyuu

post : 2017.11.25 07:00


You may know that Okinawa’s fishing industry is famous for its large bonito hauls. Motobu Town on the main island of Okinawa and Yaeyama Islands, including Miyako and Irabu are the main are the prefecture’s main bonito fishing areas.


In the past, Okinawa had the top position Japan in terms of the volume of bonito taken. But the ranking has decreased due to a lack of fishermen.


Still, Okinawa still takes first place in one aspect of bonito: Bonito consumption!


People in Okinawa use bonito for stir-fried dishes like champuru, garnishes for Okinawa soba or stock for Okinawa hot pot dishes. Okinawans energetically scoop great amounts of bonito to their assorted pots every year.


Check out the shelves in the local stores and you will be amazed at the huge selection.


The large bags are more prevalent than the small ones. Varieties include thin sliced, thick sliced or select types, which contain no fish blood spots.



Kachuuyuu soup is one traditional way of consuming bonito in Okinawa.


Bonito is called as kachyuu in the Okinawan dialect. The “yuu in kachyuu means hot water, which is poured over the flakes to make this easy-to-prepare Okinawan “instant soup.”


Yet, this is not just "instant soup." Nutritionally, bonito contains peptides that are said to enhance recovery from fatigue, concentration and other mental faculties. It also contains various vitamins and minerals and even alleviates acid stomach. It is an all around great supplement for health.


In Okinawa, people often take this particular soup when they are sick or when their appetite is poor. Here are some great recipes that I learned from local people.


Dishes provided by Yoshiriki Yamada


The basic ingredients are bonito flakes and miso. Some people use thick sliced flakes; others prefer thin sliced.



Dish (left) provided by Ryoko Shinzato; pink bowl provided by Nana Akimoto



Just add hot water.


Pink bowl and teapot provided by Nana Akimoto


After the hot water other ingredients may be added.


“N” from Naha City volunteered her recipe.


Dish (left) provided by Tatsuya Morinaga; bowl provided by Yoshiriki Yamada


In “N’s” family, the mother worked for Matsumoto Shoten (dried food shop) in Makishi, Naha. The family recipe is made with bonito flakes, miso and dried plum. Chopped green onion was sometimes added to taste. “N” has this soup once a month or so, even now.


“K,” who owns a pig farm, has a fancier recipe, which includes miso in the bowl and a raw egg cracked over the top after the hot water is added.


Bowl provided by Tatsuya Morinaga; placemat provided by Chika Miyara


Raw egg is great as a nutritional topping. When “K's” mother was little, raw egg was a special topping only when she was sick. It was a rare treat back then.



Bowl provided by Tatsuya Morinaga; placemat provided by Chika Miyara


This recipe calls for plenty of bonito flakes so the soup is very flavorful. Softened bonito flakes make a great accompaniment to the soup. Kachuuyuu is pretty filling despite its looks.


The shop manager's parents are from Miyako Island. Her mother used to make the soup with salt instead of miso when she would return home after giving birth.


“T” and her two kids is from Chatan Town. She always soaks her flakes in water before boiling and adding miso. She always prepares a large pot of soup when she is sick or she has no appetite so it is always on hand when she wants it.


“H,” from Itoman City, adds somen noodles or mozuku seaweed to the soup to make a noodle dish.


Lastly, I couldn’t end this introduction to people's various recipes, without mentioning one more that “K,” a 20-something designer surprised me with. It is not a traditional recipe but one I would say came about for the sake of younger generations.


Okinawa's miso soup: Kachuuyuu


“K” confessed to not eating it very often, but told me about the existence of a new instant kachuuyuu, which can be found at the instant foods aisles at local supermarkets or drug stores.


I was surprised that there is an instant kachuuyuu on the market because the homemade ones are so easy to make! I think it is a typical Okinawan style. I think it would be an interesting gift or souvenir along with some background explanation about of kachuuyuu.


Well, which recipe did you like the best? It was interesting to see the various ingredients people use when they make kachuuyuu. I enjoyed listening to the “mom’s” recipes from various people. Kachuuyuu is so easy to make so please experiment on your own or try one of these Okinawan mom ideas. Add anything you want: it’s easy! 


Chopstick holder provided by Tatsuya Morinaga; bowl provided by Yoshiriki Yamada; placemat provided by Chika Miyara


Related articles: Restaurants where you can enjoy kachuuyuu


Ameiro Shokudo

Mehmichi in Ginowan City


Products featured in the article

Gallery Haraiso

Address: 1-9-24 Ishikawa Akebono, Uruma City, Okinawa

Hours: 11:00-16:00

Closed: Wednesday and Sunday

Tel: 098-989-3262





Okinawa CLIP photo writer: monobox (Tetsumasa & Kozue Kawano)