A Cherished condiment and
staple food for over 500 years

Our World

Fermented Food

Fermented food is something that Japanese people have been enjoying for centuries, but it was around 500 years ago when fermenting in wooden barrels called kioke [Kee-O-keh] became popular throughout the country. This is the origin of Kioke-miso.

These kioke are passed down for generations and used for more than 100 years. Each kioke develops its own microbiome ecosystem over the years which contributes to creating truly unique miso specific to the manufacturer.

Currently, a mere 1% of the whole miso production in Japan is produced using this traditional method but more and more younger generations of miso producers are embracing the traditional methods.

Kioke-miso is made from simple ingredients yet offers complex flavors packed with nutrients. So perfect that even Japan’s renowned shoguns heavily invested in its production.

Kioke-miso is a less known cultural treasure of Japan. It is our mission to shine a light and introduce it to the world.




Ever since it was invented, Kioke-miso has always been a cherished condiment and a staple food for Japanese people, but it was during the Sengoku Period (15-16 Centuries) when the miso production became a major industry in Japan.

During the Sengoku Period, there was near-constant civil war and social upheaval throughout Japan. The most powerful shoguns (warlords), Nobunaga Oda, Hideyoshi Toyotomi, and Ieyasu Tokugawa all invested in miso production. Not only is miso virtually non-perishable, it is packed with nutrients so it was perfect for bringing to the war and feeding the soldiers.

The cities these shoguns held residence are still famous for their miso production today.


Magic of  Nature

The magic of Kioke-miso begins in the kioke, the wooden barrels.

The kioke are hand crafted from 100+ year old cedar wood. Using no adhesives or nails, they are skillfully put together with woven bamboo belts called taga.

The kioke are then used to produce miso for more than a century. Over the years, slowly but surely kioke start to build a microbiome ecosystem collectively called “house yeasts,” unique to each miso production house or kura.
The ecological balance of house yeasts varies from kura to kura which ultimately affects the various aspects of the miso and results in a one-of-a-kind flavor.


Present & Future

As modernization seeped in, more and more kioke started to be replaced with plastic or stainless steel containers despite the fact that wood was absolutely the best material when it came to miso production.

Consequently, only a few kioke suppliers remain today. In order to carry the art of Kioke-miso into the future, younger kioke makers, craftsmen and kura owners are now working together and leading the movement to bring back this tradition. When you choose Kioke-miso you are supporting them to carry the Kioke-miso tradition into the future.

fermentation & food

Since Ancient 

When microorganisms like yeast and bacteria break down the sugar in food and turn it into a new product, this process is called fermentation. We, humans, have taken advantage of this since ancient times. The archeological research indicates that our ancestors were already making something resembling miso around 3-10 BC in Japan.

Health Benefits

Kioke-miso is extremely nutrient-dense. During the fermentation process, the proteins in soybeans are broken into amino acids which are easier for our bodies to absorb.
Soybean is a complete protein food which means that it includes all 9 essential amino acids critical to sustaining our bodily functions.

Kioke-miso For 

Kioke-miso is very versatile and works well with any ingredient including meat, seafood, vegetables or even fruit. The savory umami can add extra depth in flavor to any style of cuisine, not only Japanese cuisine. Try roasting with Kioke-miso to enjoy the intense aroma, dissolve it in liquid to create a soup base, or you can even melt it like butter. There are endless ways to enjoy Kioke-miso.

miso facts

Key Players


The ingredients of miso are very simple - soybeans, salt and koji.
Koji plays an essential role in the fermentation process in order to create miso.

  • Soybeans
  • Salt
  • Koji

What is Koji?

Koji alone is another fermented substance usually made from a grain, such as rice, barley or soybeans. Each region has a specific type of koji they prefer to use in order to create regional uniqueness in the flavor of their miso.

  • Kome-koji : Rice
  • Mame-koji : Soybeans
  • Mugi-koji : Barley

Flavor &
Color Styles


The amount of salt added determines the perception of sweetness in miso. Sweeter tasting miso with less salt content is suitable for enjoying in its simplest form. On the other hand, the saltier tasting miso is perfect for cooking.

  • Sweet miso5-7%
  • Mild miso7-11%
  • Salty miso11-13%
Salt Content


In general, the shorter fermentation and maturation processes are, the lighter the color the miso will be. As you prolong those processes, the color starts to evolve into a more tan-like, reddish brown and even dark coffee colors.
Salt does affect the color to some extent, but it does not necessarily have to do with the amount of salt used.

  • White misoaround 1 month
  • Brown miso4 to 8 months
  • Red miso or Dark miso1 years or more


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We believe that Kioke-miso’s unique qualities and its versatility attract
many culinary professionals as well as home chefs worldwide.
With 500 years of history and counting, Kioke-miso never ceases to spark our culinary creativity.