The native guide; All about unique JapanWhat’s Koji Miso
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What’s Koji Miso

Koji miso, miso paste, Japanese foodFood & Drinks
Food & Drinks
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“Koji miso” that you can see some products on markets recently.
Aren’t you curious; Is this koji miso different from ordinary miso? How is it taste like?
Honestly, I have never heard “Koji miso” until I posted about Miso paste here. So, with just a little knowledge, choosing miso will be fun!

What’s exactly Koji Miso

Originally, Koji has been one of the essential ingredients for making miso so all products have to be included Koji. As I explained in this post, Miso paste in Japan has roughly divided into four types by raw materials, and there is not the definition of “Koji miso” officially.

Now, what exactly Koji miso is?
It seems “commercial product name” when companies like to show their effort and confidence in their products.

For example, miso made with carefully selected Koji is named “Koji miso” with the pride and thoughts of the maker, or miso contains a high amount of Koji compared with other products are seemed to be called “Koji miso”.

Moreover, some products intentionally remain crushed koji to enjoy its texture even in Miso paste.

Koji has been rooted in the Japanese lifestyle for a long, and it has been bringing many health benefits as fermentation power. Miso is one of the products made of Koji. In the process of making miso, various types of Koji are mixed with rice, barley, or, soybeans. The miso called “Koji miso” must be used a large amount of special Koji devised to create the ideal taste. I think this is why it is called “Koji miso”.

It’s a bit confusing, but in a nutshell, Koji Miso is a brand name that indicates that the manufacturer uses carefully selected Koji. Although miso is called “koji miso”, it is divided into rice miso, barley miso, soybean miso, and blended miso by the main ingredient.


・Rice miso (Soybean/Rice koji/salt)
・Barley miso (Soybean/Barley koji/salt
・Soybean miso (Soybean/Koji/salt)

By The Way… What’s Koji?

koji, soy sauce

Koji is the mold (Aspergillus oryzae) grown on steamed rice, barley, soybeans, etc.

Koji, which is used not only for making miso but also for making soy sauce and Japanese sake, is certified as a national bacterium that represents Japan.

It has been deeply rooted in Japanese food culture for a long time and has contributed to the development of Japanese cuisine.

The aspergillus oryzae (Koji) has a strong decomposing activity of proteins and starch contained in raw materials.

Koji can be called by raw materials, such as

・Koji grown on steamed rice → Rice Koji
・Koji grown on steamed barley → Barley koji
・Koji grown on steamed soybeans → Bean Koji

Furthermore, the types of miso 󠄀 can be classified into rice miso 󠄀, barley miso 󠄀, and soybean miso depends on which Koji is used.

Koji Has Strong Enzyme Activity

Koji produces many enzymes, including proteolytic enzymes (proteases) and starch-degrading enzymes (amylase).

  • Protease decomposes protein into amino acids and produce Umami flavor.
  • Amylase decomposes starch into glucose and produce sweetness.

This is the fact of the mysterious Umami flavor in Miso paste.

One of the traditional Japanese food preservation methods is marinating ingredients with miso. The degrading enzyme (protease) in miso 󠄀breaks the protein.

Shio koji, which I talk about in this post as a traditional meat tenderizer, use this benefit. Miso and Shio Koji also have the effect of masking the odor of meat and fish.

Shopping List

The Hikari Miso additive-free stuck have 750g

Miso is made of organic agriculture-grown soybeans and rice and sun-dried salt.
Additive-free. The product concept is based on safety and natural taste. You can enjoy mild natural red-miso with plenty of umami produced by Koji. You can enjoy crushed soybeans in miso paste to add a unique texture.

Miso Paste Malted rice, Handmade in Kyoto Japan 300g(10.58OZ)

Yamasan is a company in Kyoto that handles green tea, miso, and soy sauce in Uji, Kyoto, Japan. The product concept is “food safety” particularly about raw materials such as domestic, additive-free, and organically grown. Traditional manufacturing methods and handmade products, enjoy delicious koji miso paste.

Contents: 300g (10.58OZ)-you can enjoy 20 bowls of miso soup when 15g miso per bowl. Additive-free, Gluten-free, No GMO/MSG.
Tubed paste type, easy to use and storage.

The Bottom Line

Koji miso is another commercial name for products especially using more Koji amounts or using special Koji.

Now, do you like to try this Japanese traditional condiment? Miso soup is the best way to know the taste of miso. Today, many types of miso are easily available online, try those and find your favorite miso.

Miso has many health benefits with high-quality protein as well as abundant nutritional components such as carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. Moreover, soy protein is difficult to digest and absorb as it is, but, miso paste can help to digest and absorb easier due to the power of enzymes, and efficient absorption can be expected.

When you go to Japan, visit a miso specialty store or a miso brewery and try the miso while listening to the expert’s commentary.

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