Different Regions Develop Different Miso

Depending on the natural climate and ways of life, the different regions where miso is manufactured have naturally developed different types of Miso. Basically, miso is made from soybeans, sea salt, and Koji-Seed. However, as mentioned above, miso is categorized into three types: rice miso, barley miso, and soybean miso, depending on which Koji is used for miso manufacturing.

Rice (Kome) Miso

Since Japan is based on rice culture, different variations of rice miso have been made in different regions. Adding rice Koji to soybeans and sea salt makes rice miso. Most of the varieties of miso on the market today are variations of rice miso. The northern regions of Japan produce about 80% of rice miso in Japan. By Adjusting the amount of Koji used, the flavor varies from sweet to salty; with 74% of the rice miso produced being the salty variety.

Barley (Mugi) Miso

Adding barley Koji to soybeans and sea salt makes barley miso. This miso is also popularly referred to as "country style miso" because of barley's unique and colloquial flavor. Barley is mainly produced in the southern regions of Japan, particularly in Kyushu Island which produces over 70% of the barley miso. Barley began being used to develop the Koji in place of soybeans in order to stabilize miso production rate due to the fact that soybeans were easily infected with vermin under warm conditions and climate. Barley contains a higher percentage of protein than rice giving barley miso a stronger and deeper flavor.

Soybean (Mame) Miso

Soybean miso is made by using neither rice nor barley, but soybeans themselves to create the Koji, which is then blended with sea salt. It has a little astringency and thicker taste, and a deeper, reddish brown luster. It is produced mainly in three prefectures in the central Japan. Compared with other Misos, it has less carbohydrates. Therefore it has less aromatic substance but a thicker flavor. Soybean miso also has superior nutritional value.

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