Kikkoman Hon Tsuyu vs Mentsuyu Soup Bases

As you know, we Japanese sometimes have noodle dishes at home.

When Japanese home cooks make noodle dishes, such as udon and buckwheat soba noodles, many of them prepare a certain liquid soup base for making the broth.

As the Japanese soup base is commonly used by the home cooks, it is available at almost any grocery store in Japan.

Some overseas people may have used it before, because in recent years the Japanese soup base is easy to obtain on online shopping sites like, even if you don’t live in Japan.


The liquid soup base for making the broth of Japanese noodle dishes is generally called “Mentsuyu (めんつゆ)”, but there also exist several products with names similar to Mentsuyu, which can be used for making the broth of Japanese noodle dishes as well.

The Difference between Kikkoman Hon Tsuyu and Mentsuyu

Among those Japanese soup bases, I think the most famous product is Kikkoman’s “Hon Tsuyu Koidashi (本つゆ濃いだし)”.

Some overseas people seem to wonder “what is the difference between Mentsuyu and Hon Tsuyu soup bases?” or “These are the same thing or different things?”

Since I did some research about that, today let me explain the difference.

Mentsuyu Soup Base

Mentsuyu Soup Base

According to Wikipedia Japan, Mentsuyu is the seasoning made combining “Kaeshi (かえし)” and “Dashi (出汁)”.

The former, Kaeshi is made by simmering a mixture of dark soy sauce, sugar, mirin sweet cooking rice wine and so on, while the latter, Dashi is soup stock taken from kombu seaweed, dried bonito shavings “Katsuobushi (かつお節)”, shiitake mushrooms and so forth.

There are roughly two types in Mentsuyu, “Concentrated” and “Straight”, both of which are used mainly for making the broth of Japanese noodle dishes as the name, “Mentsuyu” is literally translated into English as “the broth for noodles”.

However, in addition to being prepared for making noodle dishes, Mentsuyu can also be used in various ways, say, as a seasoning for boiled foods or as a dipping sauce for tempura called “Tentsuyu (天つゆ)“.

Hence, Mentsuyu is a kind of versatile seasoning.

Kikkoman Hon Tsuyu Soup Base

Kikkoman Hon Tsuyu Liquid Soup Base

On the other hand, the official website of Kikkoman says that the Hon Tsuyu Koidashi sauce is an all-purpose seasoning with plenty of umami for a wide range of foods.

It is a high 4 times concentrated soup base compared to general Mentsuyu soup bases.

Although the Hon Tsuyu sauce can be used as a seasoning for various kinds of dishes, many Japanese people primarily use it for making the broth of Japanese noodle dishes, including udon and buckwheat soba noodles.

Besides, according to the official website, the basic producing method of the Hon Tsuyu sauce is the same as that of Mentsuyu.

Hence, it could be said that the Hon Tsuyu Koidashi sauce is a kind of Mentsuyu.

About Kikkoman Hon Tsuyu Koidashi Sauce

For those who want to know about the Kikkoman’s Hon Tsuyu Koidashi sauce more specifically, here is the detailed information.


Kikkoman Hon Tsuyu Meterials

The label says that the Hon Tsuyu soup base is made with dried bonito flakes “Katsuo-bushi (かつお節)”, dried tuna flakes “Maguro-bushi (まぐろ節)”, and dried sardine flakes “Iwashi-bushi (いわし節)”, all of which are Japan’s native materials.

Kikkoman Hon Tsuyu Ingredients

Specifically, according to the ingredient list, Kikkoman Hon Tsuyu Koidashi consists of soy sauce (including soybeans and wheat flour), high fructose corn syrup, sugar, salt, fish flakes (bonito, tuna, sardine, and frigate mackerel), bonito extract, fermented wheat seasoning, mirin, kombu seaweed, seasonings (including amino acid), and alcohol.


Kikkoman Hon Tsuyu Uses

There are also use examples of the Hon Tsuyu soup base on the package. They are written in Japanese, so here are the usage examples in English. According to the use, dilute the Hon Tsuyu sauce with water (hot or cold) as follows.

Use Examples Hon Tsuyu : Water
Dipping Sauce for Noodles 1 : 3
Broth for Noodles 1 : 6 – 8
Donburi-mono, Tentsuyu 1 : 3 – 4
Oden, Nabemono 1 : 8 – 10
Nimono 1 : 4 – 6


Kikkoman Hon Tsuyu Notes

Note that you should refrigerate the Hon Tsuyu sauce after opening, otherwise there is a possibility the liquid gets moldy.


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.

1 Response

  1. Jay says:

    I love eating zarusoba. I use the Mizkan Hontsuyu as a soup base regularly. It says on the package to use 3 water:1 hontsuyu to make dipping sauce for zarusoba.

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