Making Traditional Japanese Miso

A wonderful experience and a look into Japanese culture

  • Where

    City Center

  • What


Miso - a Staple of the Japanese Cuisine

Located in the heart of Utsunomiya is Aogen Honten, a fermentation specialty store and cafe, with an adjacent classroom where locals can learn how to make their own homemade miso. Established in 1625, they are offering beginner courses for anyone who is interested in learning how to make miso and getting a basic understanding of how fermentation works. A great opportunity to learn more about one of the classic seasonings of Japanese food.

Aogen Honten

Aogen Honten
Aogen Honten

■What to Expect

Aogen Honten holds miso-making experiences 1-2 times every month. These classes are held in Japanese, but the directions given are very simple & with a little help & guidance from the instructors very easy to understand. A fun experience for people of any age & no previous experience in cocking is needed. However, for anyone who has made bread before, making miso will feel oddly familiar, with squishing the beans using the same movements they would already know from kneading bread. All you need to bring is an apron & something to cover your hair, like a bandana.

Aogen Honten

■Get Your Hands Dirty

As participants arrive at Aogen Honten, they are guided upstairs where the spacious cocking studio is located. All the ingredients and equipment are already prepared and laid out on the table - salt, malted rice, soybeans, and a small amount of already made dark miso.

The process of combining all the ingredients is really fun and the simple steps are easy to understand. Having all the ingredients already measured out makes following the instructions simple and the friendly staff is there to help if needed.

Aogen Honten
Aogen Honten

■The Secret to Good Miso

At the very beginning, Mr. Yamakoshi pointed out that there are three key points to making miso: cleanliness, accuracy, and love. He also shared that making miso is a very personal process and no two miso in the room will taste the same. There is no right or wrong, so participants can make the paste smooth or chunky which will affect how the miso will ferment. A smoother base leading to a richer miso, also maturing slower than its chunkier counterpart.

Aogen Honten

■Mission Accomplished!

Just about one hour & a half later, participants will have plenty of their very own miso to take home. With 2kg of soon-to-be delicious miso in their hands, the staff also shares how to best store the miso, how it will start to ferment, & how to enjoy it. It has to rest for at least 3 months at preferably room temperature & can then be moved to the freezer to keep it from fermenting further. The great thing about miso is, it does not get bad & visible changes, such as white spots, can just be removed. Participants will leave worry-free, with an amazing sense of achievement as well as a delicious treat to look forward to & share with family & friends.

Get in touch with Aogen Honten via Instagram (, which at 3,300 yen is great value as you will bring home miso you made yourself.

Aogen Honten
Aogen Honten
Aogen Honten

■Treat Yourself in the Cafe

After all the work there is also plenty to explore in the shop area. A variety of fermented foods like miso, amazake as well as frozen foods such as yuzu-gyoza can be found here. The cafe itself is small but has a delicious menu, with their frozen coffee, a coffee-flavored amazake, or the ice cream being some of the highlights, especially on a hot day.

Aogen Honten

Message from Aogen Honten

At Aogen Honten we offer several types of fermentation classes to teach the importance of incorporating live fermented foods into your diet. In our store, fresh miso is sold by weight, & we have a take-out menu featuring "fresh fermented foods. Please come & "experience fermentation" with us.

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