Raised in tranquility above the placid waters of the Seto Inland Sea, the cattle on Shodoshima are as mellow as the setting. It’s an island that operates at its own pace, as you’re likely to find once you’ve disembarked from the one-hour high-speed ferry ride from Takamatsu.

That is not to say Shodoshima is a bucolic rural backwater. As the second-largest island in the Inland Sea, it has a population of about 28,000, and has long supported a thriving tradition of farming and food production.

For 400 years, the temperate microclimate in this corner of the Inland Sea has proved ideal for brewing shoyu (soy sauce). While the number of producers on the island has dropped from 400 to around 20, those that remain continue to uphold the long, slow fermentation methods of old, with many still using traditional wooden barrels.