Mr. Tsutomu Ichinose
Japanese Cuisine
Head chef at the Japanese restaurant 'Benkay'

Head chef at the Japanese restaurant ‘Benkay’ in the Hotel Nikko Kumamoto.

Captivated by the beautiful and delicate Kyoto cuisine from the area in which he grew up, at age eighteen, he started down the culinary path.

Fond of the fragrant and refreshing bonito stock, he creates gentle yet delicious flavors through the application of his honed senses as a master craftsman combined with seasonal produce and fresh seafood.

Creatively arranging and capturing the beauty of the changing of the seasons, delicately representing Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter in a single dish, he brings constant delight to gourmet diners who visit Kumamoto from across Japan and the world.


“The appeal of Japanese Hamada soy sauce is the clean, freshly squeezed flavor.

Once healed for cooking, it gives off a rich and full aroma, and can be widely used even in home cooking.

While the color is rich and deep, the flavor is light and refreshing, making it highly compatible with even stewed dishes with vegetables.

It also brings a wonderful aroma to fish dishes, teasing your appetite and providing a delicious final flavor.

You can also add soup stock or sweet sake, mellowing it out for a deeper flavor. Soy sauce is the one condiment you can never be without as an all-purpose seasoning that satisfies everything; the senses of sight, smell and taste.

I really want people overseas to give Japanese soy sauce a try, as a new flavor experience. I am sure the deep flavor will appeal to them instantly.”