Okinawa Tourism Information:SaltCoordinatorShihoAoyama

Salt Coordinator Shiho Aoyama

post : 2014.11.06 16:00

Okinawa is famous for salt. There are a lot of salt refineries and there are hundred of types of salts being made with many different processes. A small island to make so many types of salts seems to be rare.

In Okinawa, there is the only “salt coordinator” in the world. A salt coordinator is a salt specialist that can design a salt based off of consumer request, passes the opinions of consumers to salt manufacturers and acts a link between consumers and salt manufacturers.  
Salt coordinator Shiho Aoyama is a salt maniac. She is a wonderful women whose hobby and work are both salt.

Shiho got interest in salt 6 years ago. “I am often asked if I came to Okinawa for salt but it isn’t that dramatic (laughs).” She worked at a large food company in mainland Japan. After moving to Okinawa she was searching for a job and saw a help wanted ad for a salt specialty shop coincidentally, took the job interview and was soon hired and that is how she started with salt.

 After that she read up on salt, and licked each salt to check the taste and grinded away step by step. During her study she was fascinated and enjoyed salt and wanted to let people in on this fun. She quit her job. In May 2012 she founded the Japan Salt Coordinator Association and gave a name to salt experts in the world, and salt coordinators were born.  

 The shelves in her office are filled with salts from all around the world!

“If I buy a salt I give it a taste and I remember the taste and put it on the shelf. I can’t remember much else but because it is my job and my hobby it will go right into my head!”
There are 540 types on salt on her shelves…

Her favorite salt is Kirarin from Yonaguni!

Its saltiness is not harsh, and the after taste is not drawn out so it has a clean taste.  It is crumbly and looks beautiful and is soft and crunchy and has a gentle texture. It seems like it would be good on tofu with olive oil.

She also meets with craftsmen who make salts. In her book “Ryukyu Shio Techo” (lit “Ryukyu Salt Notebook”) it has her thoughts on salt, the history of salt and how salt is made. The book has the story how the salt, you probably don’t think much about, arrives to you. If you are interested in salt, please read it.    

Okinawa Clip Photowriter Taiki Gushiken