In 2016, I was on Shodoshima to enjoy the art for the Setouchi Triennale. I was cycling in Sakate and Hishionosato when it became lunchtime. I knew from my experience that I had to eat lunch before 2 p.m. or nothing would be open. I stumbled upon Yamasan Shoyu Kojo Chokubaisho while checking out Hut with the Arc Wall. Yamasan was basically a shop connected to the Yamasan soy sauce company with various goods related to the company being sold there. I was happy to have found Yamasan as I was able to try a new dish that is only on Shodoshima.
The Hishionosato area of Shodoshima has a special dish called Hishiodon. Hishiodon is a local food that was created by a travel company in Japan in order to promote tourism to the area. It doesn’t have a lot of history but it really showcases the local products of the area. Hishiodon basically has only a few requirements: 1. you must use Hishionosato soy sauce or fermented soy sauce; 2. you must use local ingredients, such as fish, olives, or vegetables; 3. olives or tsukudani (fish, seaweed, or vegetables stewed in soy sauce and mirin) must be served as a complimentary side dish.
I really had no idea what a Hishiodon was before I went to Shodoshima and I still didn’t know until I returned to Tokyo. It took a lot of research in order to learn exactly what it was. Yamasan was a happy accident where I walked into the shop because I had a place to park my bicycle and it was next to an artwork for the Setouchi Triennale. I was debating whether to go in as the shop itself was not as inviting as I would have liked, but it was definitely a very interesting looking place.
The front room of Yamasan is a basic souvenir shop. There were only a few trinkets here and there but all of them looked wonderful. For lunch, you actually order at the front desk and pay before you head to the back dining room where they serve you.
The back room was a lovely place and you get a quick cup of tea as you sit down. My Hishiodon came with a small miso soup as well as a jar of Moromi, soy sauce paste that was slightly fermented and aged. The Hishiodon at Yamasan is actually a char siu don, grilled pork, and it was amazing. While the food was not special, it was exactly what my starving stomach needed and I was extremely happy that I stopped by.
When you are next to Hut with the Arc Wall, consider stopping in at Yamasan for food. Even if you don’t want food, the souvenir shop is really nice to look at and you may find something you want to buy. I was really happy to discover this little place and would happily stop by again in the future.