History of Okui Kaiseido®

Okui Kaiseido® was established in 1871.


Our 1st generation Hango Okui (Samurai ancestors) lost his stipend by government’s Haihan-chiken action (abolition of feudal domains and establishment of prefectures) and began to deal with Kombu that was shipped from Hokkaido and off-loaded in large quantities at Tsuruga seaport.

As the founder of the company, Hango established the foundation of our Kombu business by handling and processing high-quality Kombu early on.

Kagura town in Tsuruga City, where we were founded, is located in front of the historical Kehi Shrine, which is mentioned in the Kojiki and Nihonshoki (Japanese traditional record book of ancient matters). Even now, we are still operating our main retail store in the same place.


During the time of our 2nd generation Tatsunosuke Okui, we received Goyotashi purveyor license from head of temple Eihei-ji and became official Kombu purveyor for Eihei-ji. And we started doing business with famous ryotei restaurants in Kyoto.

It was also around this time that we started doing business with a restaurant supervised by Rosanjin Kitaoji, a famous artist and gourmet. 


During the time of our 3rd generation Shigeo Okui, our business as a Kombu purveyor was stable and we got a deal with many famous Ryotei restaurants. However, World War II destroyed oud business. All the buildings were damaged by air raids, and we lost everything during the period.

So, Shigeo had a very hard time, but he made efforts to rebuild our business along with his colleagues after the war.

Fortunately, during that time, many kitchens’ Chefs at Eihei-ji Temple came all the way to come visit us by using fired burn marks as clues and asked for a Kombu order. That was a great encouragement for us and the stories about their merciful heart and figure have been passed down from generation to generation.

We’ll never forget how grateful we are and their merciful heart. Since then, we have been receiving a Kombu order from Eihei-ji for more than 100 years.


Today, our 4th generation Takashi Okui has inherited legacy and is committed to the Kombu trading business, with the strong support by longtime customers. As represented by the hand-crafted artistic Chrysanthemum shaped Kombu, we preserved and passed down our craftsman’s skill and hand work tradition from our old days. We are so proud that our Kombu artisans are still hand shredding the Kombu to produce Tororo Kombu and Oboro Kombu.

And our new challenges have also begun. In September 2006, Takashi had an opportunity to host a workshop during the food and culture conference held in Paris and lectured the history of Kombu in order to develop inherit Japanese food culture overseas. Since then, our Kombu products have been sold at Marché in Paris.

For many years, we have devoted our greatest efforts to the procurement of high-quality natural Kombu from premium beaches in Hokkaido. But also, in order to further increase the Umami of high-quality Kombu, we store the harvested Kombu in a special aging warehouse in order to age the Kombu using Kuragakoi technique.

Therefore, we are making efforts to maintain and expand the Kombu aging Kuragakoi warehouses. The aged Kombu using straw mat does not have a seaweed aroma anymore and has only a deep noble flavor of Umami. Therefore our Kuragakoi Rishiri Kombu has been highly acclaimed by many different restaurants and retail customers.

As special inherit ingredient purveyor, we have been focusing on a specific philosophy; “Food nourishes the mind and body”. Umami aroma from Kombu Dashi always relax our mind and gave us a positive energy. I strongly feel that the richness of the mind is derived from the daily food culture.

In this age of disorderly eating behavior, we, as a Kombu purveyor, are so proud of the fact that we are handling special inherit ingredient which should be passed on to the future generation.

Okui Kaiseido will continue to devote ourselves to serving high quality Kombu for our customers based on the wisdom of our predecessors and adapt and change the food culture around the world with our best in order to respond to your continued support and patronage.