Types of Miso Fermented Soybean Paste: Japanese Seasoning

The fermented, aged soybean paste, miso (味噌), is one of the essential seasonings to us because, as you know, rice and miso soup are the staples of the Japanese diet. 

But do you know there are several miso types Japanese people commonly use in everyday life?

Types of Miso 

Types of Miso Soybean Paste

According to the official site of Marukome Miso (マルコメ味噌), there are three classifications concerning miso paste; one based on ingredients, another based on taste, and the last based on color.

Based on Ingredients

Based on ingredients, miso comes in four types; Kome Miso, Mugi Miso, Mame Miso, and Chogo Miso, whose features are as follows.

Types Main Ingredients Features
Kome Miso (米味噌: Rice Miso) Rice, Soybeans, and Salt White miso belongs to this type. Kome Miso accounts for about 80 percent of the miso produced in Japan.
Mugi Miso (麦味噌: Barley Miso) Barley, Soybeans, and Salt Mugi Miso is produced mainly in Western Japan, including Chugoku (中国), Shikoku (四国), and Kyushu (九州) regions.
Mame Miso (豆味噌: Bean Miso) Soybeans and Salt Mame Miso is produced mainly in the Chukyo (中京) region around Nagoya.
Chogo Miso (調合味噌: Blended Miso) Chogo Miso is a blend of two or three varieties of miso paste from the above three types. In addition, Chogo Miso includes ones blended with malted rice (or malted barley or soybean koji) and types other than Kome Miso, Mugi Miso, and Mame Miso.

Based on Taste

Based on taste, miso comes in three types;

  1. Ama Miso (甘味噌: Sweet Miso) with a salt content of 5 to 7 percent
  2. Amakuchi Miso (甘口味噌: Mild Sweet Miso) with a salt content of 7 to 12 percent
  3. Karakuchi Miso (辛口味噌: Salty Miso) with a salt content of 11 to 13 percent.

Not only does it depend on the amount of salt, whether the seasoning is salty or not, but the ratio of rice (or barley) to soybeans is also crucial for the taste.

In general, if two different varieties of miso contain the same amount of salt, the one whose ratio of rice (or barley) to soybeans is higher has a sweeter taste.

Based on Color

Based on color, miso comes in three types; Aka Miso (赤味噌: Red Miso), Shiro Miso (白味噌: White Miso), and Tanshoku-Kei Miso (淡色系味噌: Light-Colored Miso). 

The color of miso differs depending on elements such as the variety of ingredients, the cooking method of soybeans, and the amount of koji.


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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