Miso scooped on a spoon.

What is Miso?

Much of the history of Japan is written in miso. For more than 1,300 years, the Japanese people have cultivated this indispensable seasoning for its robust flavor and nutritious properties. The delicate yet dynamic fermentation process breaks proteins down into peptides, which aid the digestive system, and amino acids, which create umami, or distinctive, mouthwatering flavor.

Quintessentially Japanese and sustainably crafted, Hikari Miso is the embodiment of nature’s best – always made from the most nutritious, freshest soybeans, koji and salt.

Exceptionally healthy

Miso is one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. Packed with twelve percent of plant protein, with minerals and vitamins E, B12 and K.

When added to vegetables, miso enhances their flavor and help to boosts digestive health, thanks to the peptides produced during the fermentation process that help your body maintain a healthy level of bacteria in your gut.

Eating miso regularly can also help you maintain a healthy body weight, as the miso’s nutrients support to clearn your body, and its protein keeps you feeling full for longer.

What makes miso so healthy?

Chart illustrating all of the bacteria in Miso.

Other reasons why eating
miso regularly is good for us

Hourglass icon.


Fermentation is the work of
enzymes which help make proteins
and starches in miso more easily
absorbed by our digestive system.

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Plant-based protein

Soybeans are loaded with super healthy plant-based protein. Protein also makes you feel full for longer than carbs do.

Vitamins icon.

Rich nutrients

Miso contains minerals, as well as
vitamins E, B12 and K.

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Clean your body naturally

Eating miso regularly can help you maintain your health, because it works to detoxify the body. Miso works to clearn your body naturally and enhance to protect your body.

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About sodium 

When miso is used to flavor vegetables, the fiber in the veggies & miso help to decreases your salt absorption, and the veggies’ potassium helps you excrete salt.

Our Ingredients

No shortcuts, no exceptions. This is the Hikari Miso standard. We use only organic ingredients of the highest quality, sourced from the most wholesome places on earth.

Close up photo of soybeans.


Soybeans are the main ingredient in miso. They are a rich source of protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. All the soybeans used in Hikari Miso products are not genetically modified, always.

Close up photo of Koji.


rice, soybeans, barley

Koji is the mold culture that grows over steamed rice, soybeans, or barley, generating active enzymes. Enzymes break soybean protein into amino acid and peptides. Enzymes also break carbohydrates of rice and soybeans into glucose.

Close up photo of salt.


In miso, salt acts as a preservative, inhibiting the growth of undesirable microbes, as well as impacting the flavor. Hence historically in Japan miso has been non-perishable preserved food.

Closeup photo of water.


The water we use is from the Japanese Alps. Clean and soft water is essential to create high quality, rich tasting miso. In every phase of our miso production, we use this pure water.

Fermentation and aging

The amount of time miso is allowed to mature, and in what environmental conditions, greatly influences the miso’s flavor and quality. The longer miso ages, the more time it has to ferment – during which koji enzymes break down proteins into peptides, which support to maintain our body, and amino acids, which add complexity and umami.

Proper aging also softens the stimulating taste felt on the tongue, developing a broader and richer taste consists of umami, saltiness, sweetness, sourness, and bitterness, all five tastes in perfect balance.

We at Hikari Miso pride ourselves on mastering to refine the delicate balance of fermentation and aging to produce a consistently delicious, nutritious, versatile seasoning and food.

Photo of the aging process.
The Aging Process
Photo of the Daikan process.
The Daikan Process
Photo during fermentation.

About Organic and Sustainability

We are proud to be the number one producer of organic miso in the world, lovingly crafted in our certified organic manufacturing facility in Nagano, Japan. Needless to say, products do not include artificial flavor and preservatives.

non gmo

gluten free

no added msg



Lifestyle photo of soybeans.


Soybeans are a remarkable plant. They synthesize nitrogen from the air and produce protein, the sustenance of life for all humans and animals. Thus, we revere and respect soybeans, and we nurture the environment as we work with nature to bring out the best of this miraculous bean in every batch of our miso.

We use non-GMO soybeans, as well as organic non-GMO soybeans, from suppliers in all over the world committed to the highest standards from growth and harvestation through production and distribution.


Lifestyle photo of Koji.


Koji is the miso ingredient that activates the all-important process of fermentation. It’s prepared by adding koji mold to steamed grains (rice, barley, or soybeans) and then carefully culturing it in warm, humid conditions.

Historically, miso producers in Japan have used a mold culture to catalyze the fermentation process and create a variety of distinctively Japanese foods. In the making of miso, soy sauce and sake, yellow koji mold is typically used. Koji mold – also known as koji kin or Aspergillus oryzae – is the National Mold of Japan!

Koji Making

Koji mold spore


Steamed rice

Spread the spore of Koji on the rice

Growth of a hypha from a spore


Hypha on rice

Hypha grows after several hours

Growing on the surface/into the inside.


Breakdown Enzyme

Hypha secretes and causes enzyme breakdown

Final Koji produced.



After 40 hours, koji making is complete


Shio Koji is a fermented seasoning made from only rice malt, salt, and water.
Used in Japan for centuries as a seasoning or ingredient, Shio Koji has seen resurgence in popularity in recent years with the increased interest in fermented foods. The enzymes contained in Shio Koji break down proteins to pull out umami and this process also contributes to tenderizing meat and fish. The enzymes also decompose starches to draw out the sweetness from ingredients.

Looking like rice porridge, Shio Koji takes on a faint sweet flavor for a sweet and salty taste, has a slightly fermented smell. Depending on the fermentation time and the amount of water, it matures in different forms and textures. It can come in a puree, paste, near solid or even powdered.


All-Star Seasoning

Known to be an all-purpose seasoning, Shio Koji can be the multi-tasking seasoning in your kitchen. Shio Koji’s convenience is another reason this traditional ingredient recaptured the spotlight in Japan. Shio Koji can be simply poured onto meat or fish as a marinade and added as a sauce or finishing touch. It can also be used in place of salt by substituting two teaspoons of Shio Koji for every teaspoon of salt.


Types of Miso

All miso is created using soybeans, salt and water, but the type of miso is determined by which grain (rice, barley, or soybean) is paired with koji mold spores and carefully mixed with the soybeans and salt to ferment and age the miso to perfection.

Rice Miso image

Rice Miso

Rice miso is made from rice-koji, soybeans, water, and salt. Ranging from bright yellow colored miso to long-fermented red colored miso, kome miso represents a fairly wide range of flavors. Lighter color miso brings mild, sweeter flavors to vegetables and fish, while longer-fermented miso makes meats, broths, and veggies more savory.

Pure Soybean Miso image

Pure Soybean Miso

Soybean miso, or Mame Miso or Haccho Miso, is made from koji-cultured soybeans and salt only. It is typically “long fermented”, which infuses the pure soybean miso with black color and deep flavors that layer complexity.

Barley Miso image

Barley Miso

Made of barley-koji, soybeans, water, and salt, our mugi miso has bright beige color, very robust and strong body, and a deep aroma, all of which are coming from long fermentation and aging period.

Types by Color

Running a full spectrum of flavors and textures, Hikari Miso defines 6 major color categories as below.

Colors of miso lined up.


Like a color of custard cream

Our Offer: Saikyo Sweet Miso


Defined as a typical color of white miso

Our Offer: Organic White Miso Mild Sodium

Bright Beige

Yellow with orange tinge

Our Offer: Organic White Miso

Bright Red

Defined as a typical color of red miso

Our Offer: Organic Red Miso

Dark Brown

Like a color of golden toffee, milk tea, biscoff, gingerbread

Our Offer: Red Miso

Dark Chocolate

Dark red brown color. Bitterness of this miso really tastes like a dark chocolate.

Our Offer: Pure Soybean Miso

Miso-making process: The basics

Miso making chart