Naturally fermented in wooden barrels

Daily staple from Japan to the world

Nowadays, miso has become a food that can be easily found anywhere in the world. However, did you know that there are nearly countless various in miso just like wine and cheese?

Let’s briefly touch upon the basic knowledge of miso, followed by introducing a miso maker in Aichi prefecture where insists on natural fermentation only since 1928.

History of miso

It is believed miso was delivered by monks from China along with Buddhism in 7th century. The very first record of miso was ‘Taiho Code(大宝令), which was published in 701. 

Miso was a delicacy consumed only by the nobility and monks in Heian period (8th – 12th century), but it naturally spread out to the commoners thanks to diversifying ingredients as well as improving on a manufacturing skill.

The early days of Noda Miso (1928)

Diversity of miso

There are basically near-infinite types of miso, but it can still be divided into 3 different types in terms of ingredient. 

Even though miso that using the same ingredients, different miso resulted by adjusting the ratio of soybean to grain and salt. Of course, the environment and the length of fermentation are the main factors to differentiate miso fundamentally. 

<Miso tip!> 

Soybean and salt are must-have items that something to be called as miso.

Based on geography

Since miso is deeply entrenched into each local community, the type of miso can be divided geographically rather clearly.
The most produced miso is rice miso (米味噌), which is consumed most part of Japan, consists of 80% of the market share followed by mixed miso (10%). 

Soybean miso (豆味噌) is eaten in the central part of Japan called Tokai area(東海地域), whereas barley miso (麦味噌) is mainly consumed from Kyusyu area(九州), and each of those miso has about 5% market share respectively.

Grow miso most natural way 

Fermented food such as miso, cheese, wine, kimchi, etc. is directly affected by the environment and time. Aging in a natural way result in completely different flavor and aroma from the one made in the artificial environment.

“We Don’t Make Miso, We Raise It”

Noda Miso Co. mainly produces pure-soybean miso in a very natural and traditional way by maturing miso in a giant wooden barrel made of Japanese cedar for at least 18 months.

<Miso tip!> 
Among 1,000 miso makers in Japan, less than 5% of makers persist in both natural fermentation and wooden barrel only.

One of the biggest features of Noda Miso Co. is giant wooden barrels with about 3m high & width that contains 12 tons of miso each. 

Kura (), which is the place for maturing miso, is a classical architecture building that some part has over 100 years old history, replete with wooden structure bars in the ceiling over a vast array of wooden barrels that lined up both side. 

This extraordinary view with the unique smell of miso is enough to delude you into thinking that you are in a different dimension.

“Our miso making process takes over 18 months. It requires human involvement only for 4 days in the very beginning. For the rest of the time, the miso is left alone, exposed to the cycle of the four seasons until it is perfect.”

Noda Miso Co. has round 400 wooden barrels in 15 miso-kura (maturing house), which is the largest number in Japan. Unfortunately, those size of hand-made wooden barrels cannot be made anymore as no more craftsman can make it here in Japan.

We consider those barrels are not just a tool for containing miso, but the cultural asset needed to be used with loving care and handed over to the next generation.

Fermented food?

It is believed there are around 7,000 fermented foods in the world. Those rich-nutrient foods have been contributing a healthy and pleasant life for humans. However, our daily dietary has been changed into many processed food some did not even exist in the past. The real issue here is people eat foods without knowing what is in there and how was it made.

Some food products use ‘fermented’ to appeal itself as a healthy food even though there aren’t much related.  
Honest marketing from the food makers is important, but having a right knowledge of the products before purchasing it would be the fundamental solution to avoid any unintentional food habit and have a healthier life.

Masuzuka Miso is a brand name of Noda Miso Co. in Japan.