What is Natto?

If you’re here, you’ve probably already run into natto at least once. I seem to be among the few American fans of Japanese fermented soybeans, and that was one reason I created this blog. Most of the information I could find in English about natto involved how disgusting Westerners think it is. Granted, my first…

Natto Varieties

Just as water, barley, malt and hops can create myriad varieties of beer, so can water, soy and natto bacillus generate a lot of different types of natto. By adding salt or other flavorings, or additional steps to its processing, Japan has generated many regional styles and preparations for natto. There are two main types…

Natto’s International Cousins

It’s a small, fermented soybean-filled world after all! The Japanese are not the only ones to have discovered the secret of fermenting beans into something new and wonderful. Soybeans and the bacillus bacteria that turn them into natto are naturally occurring across Eurasia and beyond, and many cultures have developed their own versions of natto…

Natto History

Legend maintains that natto was first discovered by soldiers on campaign in northeastern Japan about 1000 years ago. Rather than leave a pot of cooked soybeans behind when they needed to break camp on short notice, the beans were packed into straw baskets. When the bags were opened a few days later, the beans had…

Natto Map

There are supposedly about 500 commercial natto-producing interests in Japan, many of them small, local enterprises and farm cooperatives. This map covers about 130 natto companies, and is drawn from the membership lists of the Japan Natto Cooperative Society Federation. Please note that these names and locations were machine translated from Japanese. (This map was…