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Okinawan factory invites visitors to view salt-making process

Windows allow visitors to watch Nuchi Masu’s final inspection process, where workers examine each grain of salt to ensure there are no imperfections.

JESSICA BIDWELL/STARS AND STRIPES

By JESSICA BIDWELL | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 7, 2017

Ever wondered where salt comes from? You can find out at Nuchi Masu, a factory on Miyagi Island, off Okinawa’s central coast.

Visitors to Nuchi Masu, which translates as “salt of life,” can see salt formed through a mist-crystallization process. The natural process involves evaporating sea water to leave only powdery white salt and minerals.

Okinawan salt is rich in both natural minerals and taste. Guinness World Records notes that it’s high in calcium, potassium, zinc, silicon and magnesium.

Visitors aren’t allowed to enter Nuchi Masu’s salt crystallization room, but they can see inside through a window that runs the length of the chamber. The room is covered in salt crystals that look like fresh snow.

Other windows give visitors a view of the salt’s final inspection. Workers in lab coats check each grain, combing through the salt by hand to ensure there are no imperfections.

There are no tour guides at the factory, but English-language signs explain the process.

A gift shop on the second floor sells an assortment of salt products and beauty care treatments.

Salt made at Nuchi Masu comes in three types: powder, moist and granular. While each boasts a different texture, all can be used for cooking or mineral drinks.

Nuchi Masu’s salt is gentler on the body than other salts, because it contains 25 percent less sodium chloride, according to staff at the factory. Skin-care items such as exfoliators and face cleanser are available for purchase.

A cafe next to the gift shop serves food made with Nuchi Masu salt. Noodles, salted pork, taco rice and an assortment of sweets are on the menu. There’s also a deliciously salty flavor of vanilla ice cream.

The cafe’s sunny balcony is a nice place to enjoy your food, cooled by the sea breeze while taking in panoramic ocean views.

After touring the factory, it’s worth going for a walk along a nearby hill path leading to a cliff where there are more picture-perfect views of the Pacific. The lovely waters offshore are the source of Nuchi Masu’s salt.

bidwell.jessica@stripes.com

Visitors aren’t allowed to enter Nuchi Masu’s salt crystallization room, but they can see inside through a window that runs the length of the chamber.
JESSICA BIDWELL/STARS AND STRIPES

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