Nama Shoyu: How it Differs from Regular Soy Sauce

A new type of soy sauce called “Nama Shoyu (生しょうゆ)” became a big hit several years ago in Japan, and now it has become a standard household seasoning.

Nama Shoyu (生しょうゆ)

Kikkoman Nama Shoyu

As you may know, in the name of Nama Shoyu, “Shoyu (醤油)” is the Japanese word for soy sauce, while “Nama (生)” means raw, fresh, or uncooked. 

Then, how does the soy sauce variety Nama Shoyu differ from the regular soy sauce we often use in our daily lives such as Koikuchi Shoyu (dark soy sauce) and Usukuchi Shoyu (light-colored soy sauce)?

Nama Shoyu vs Regular Soy Sauce

Kikkoman Nama Shoyu Fresh Soy Sauce

One primary reason why Nama Shoyu includes the word “Nama (生)” meaning raw or fresh or uncooked in its name is;

Unlike normal soy sauce such as Koikuchi Shoyu and Usukuchi Shoyu, Nama Shoyu isn’t heat-treated in the final production process in order to keep its umami components and enzymes alive.

Instead, to get rid of germs, the unheated raw soy sauce is filtered through special filters over and over again. 

In contrast, the production process of regular soy sauce usually involves heat sterilization, but that results in stopping the activity of enzymes and diminishes umami.


Compared to normal soy sauce, Nama Shoyu is generally brilliant brown in hue, has smooth umami, and is mild and gentle in taste, flavor, and aroma.

The fresh raw soy sauce is packed with plenty of umami, and when heated, it becomes more fragrant.

How to Use

Kikkoman Nama Shoyu Soy Sauce

Basically, Nama Shoyu can be used in the same way as regular soy sauce. 


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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