PRODUCER SPOTLIGHT: Tamakiya - Pioneering 200 Years Of Furikake

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Edo period fish store

The history of Tamakiya began in the Edo period in 1782 when Tamakiya Shichibei set up a small store in the countryside of Tamaki Village.

The store originally became famous for its "Zazen beans", black beans that are boiled with sugar and are a traditional food of Zen Buddhism.

In fact, the name Zazen is said to come from the seated meditation that is part of Zen Buddhism training. The shape of the raw bean paste is similar to this seated position and there are theories that monks would eat the beans while they sat zazen.

Tamakiya's Zazen beans became so popular that even Edo style poems where written about them!

Edo period fish store

During that same time, fishermen in the small fishing village of "Tsukuda village" were given the right to tax-free fishing anywhere in the country by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder and first shōgun Edo shogunate, the last feudal Japanese military government.

Every year, the fishermen would donate some of their fish as a symbol of gratitude.

Tamakiya began boiling these small fish in soy sauce, sugar and mirin, and sold it as a homemade side dish in the neighborhood. Its sweet and savory taste was originally enjoyed by the savvy upperclass of the Edo period, but quickly spread throughout.

It became extremely popular given its preservation and cheap price. This was the first creation of Tsukudani (佃煮), a now popular Japanese side dish that is made from small seafood, meat or seaweed and usually served on top a bowl of steamed rice. 

Edo period fish store
Top left: Head office of Tamakiya
Right: Inside the head office of Tamakiya
Bottom left: Tamakiya factory

Over 200 hundred years later, Tamakiya is still in the same spot where it was first established and is currently in its ninth generation.

The heart and craftsmanship of the traditional flavors still remain and the pure taste and aroma have been handed down through generations. 

They currently make a wide range of products, including their famous Tsukudani and Furikake (ふりかけ), a common Japanese seasoning that comes in a variety of flavors and is typically sprinkled on top of rice, vegetables, tofu and fish. 

Although there is no end to the different kinds of furikake that can be found in Japan, Tsukudani makes many unique flavors that no can't be found elsewhere.

Unlike most store bought furikake, Tsukudani's contains no MSG, chemicals or preservatives. They also use raw ingredients that maintain their original taste and freshness.

Despite having a long history, they are pioneers in the field of inventing new flavors of furikake, using everything from seasonal Japanese ingredients to ingredients inspired by flavors from all over the world.


    We included two of these unique and seasonal furikake in our August Nourishing Essentials Care Package. Unagi (eel) and ayu (little sweet fish) are two of the most popular summer foods in Japan. Unagi, rich in vitamin A, B1, B2, D, and E, calcium, and protein, is said to provide stamina during the hot days of summer while ayu, which thrives only in clean rivers, has a one year lifespan that peaks in the summer, marking the start of the season.  

    These special flavors are only available in summer. Enjoy the seasonal tastes from Japan!

    Learn more about Tamakiya at


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