Hikiwari Natto & Kotsubu Natto : What types of Natto beans are they?

As you know, “Natto (納豆)” are Japanese fermented soybeans with stickiness and a peculiar odor. The Japanese food delicacy is well-known as a superfood with various health benefits and said to contribute to having a long life. However, have you ever heard that there are several types in Natto based on the size?

6 Types of Natto fermented soybeans

The Size of Soybeans The Name of Natto
Big O-tsubu Natto (大粒納豆)
Middle Chu-tsubu Natto (中粒納豆)
Small Kotsubu Natto (小粒納豆)
Very Small Gokusho Natto (極小納豆)
Super Small Cho-Gokusho Natto (超極小納豆)
Crushed Soybeans Hikiwari Natto (ひきわり納豆)

According to the official website of Takano Foods, a major Japanese Natto maker, based on the size, Natto is classified into 6 types as above. Speaking of the popularity, small-sized Natto beans have a much larger share than middle and big ones in Japan. On the other hand, fermented crushed soybeans, Hikiwari Natto accounts for about 7 to 8 % of the market share of Natto in Japan.

Hikiwari Natto and Kotsubu Natto

Now, let’s actually compare Hikiwari Natto (ひきわり納豆) and Kotsubu Natto (小粒納豆) that I have now. These are from different Japanese makers, but the containers are uniform in size, color and shape.

Besides, both of these 2 Natto products include english mustard and soy-sauce-based sauce. Actually, apart from them, most Japanese Natto products have the english mustard and soy-sauce-based sauce for seasoning Natto beans in the foamed styrene container.

Hikiwari Natto (ひきわり納豆)

The left one, Hikiwari Natto has a light color because it takes less time to ferment the crushed soybeans than the whole-small-bean for Kotsubu Natto.

What is better, Hikiwari Natto is easy to digest and rich in Vitamin K that helps absorb calcium efficiently, as compared to the whole-bean Natto, namely “Tsubu Natto (粒納豆)” including Kotsubu Natto.

Kotsubu Natto (小粒納豆)

Just like the other whole-bean Natto, such as O-tsubu Natto and Chu-tsubu Natto, Kotsubu Natto has a dark brown color. Generally, the whole-bean Natto, Tsubu Natto has a deep taste and smell relating to the fermentation period, compared to Hikiwari Natto, though there is no clear difference in stickiness between them.

Related Product : Hoshi Natto (ほし納豆)
Japanese Dried Fermented Soybeans – Hoshi Natto

(Reference page of this article : Wikipedia 納豆 )


I'm Japanese living in Niigata Prefecture,Japan.I want to introduce things about Japan,especially unique Japanese products,sightseeing places,my daily life and Japanese culture.

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