We tried joining the popular workshop of handmade miso held at the long-established malted rice shop “Koizumi Koujiya” which has 150 years of history, located in Kikuna, Yokohama.

*The interview for this report had been done early in March 2020 before the state of emergency declared.

Hello, I’m Emoto of DIAgate. This time, I’ll report the popular workshop of handmade miso held at Koizumi Koujiya which has 150 years of history as a malted rice maker in Kikuna, Kouhoku ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa Pref.

If you hear the word “handmade miso”, you might imagine that it is hard work. But it was my misunderstanding!! It is completely opposite of my image. I’m happy if you think that you want to join the miso workshop by reading this report.

How to join the miso workshop

Check the website of Koizumi Koujiya. And you can choose the date and time of the workshop on the booking and application page of the handmade miso workshop. The ways to apply is the application form, telephone call, or FAX.

The standard course of the workshop is “Usual ultrahigh grade miso making”. Depending on the season, the limited period course is available not only the standard course. The workshop is held in the lecture room of Koizumi Koujiya. Also, the online handmade miso workshop has started in May 2020.

Access from Kikuna station to Koizumi Koujiya

The nearest station is Kikuna station of JR yokohama line, tokyu toyoko line. Go out from the east gate and turn right to the east exit of the station. Turn left forward with the station to your back and go straight.

 the front of Kikuna station

You will reach five forked roads. Go the road on the leftward of a pedestrian bridge. After a while, you will find the signboard of Koizumi Koujiya on the telegraph pole.

 Access to Koizumi Koujiya 1

Go straight more, and you will find “Vegetable restaurant Saito” on your left. The restaurant uses the products of Koizumi Koujiya for the menu. Pass through it and go forward. You will be in a residential area, but go without hesitating. You will find the signboard on the way to Koizumi Koujiya.

 Access to Koizumi Koujiya 2
 Access to Koizumi Koujiya 3

It will take about 9 minutes to walk from the station. The building on your right is the office building of Koizumi Koujiya. The route is an almost straight line from the station. So, you will not get lost. You will find the information board of the workshop on the premise.

 Access to Koizumi Koujiya 4
 Information board of handmade miso workshop

Image of handmade miso workshop in the lecture room

Enter the lecture room, and there is the reception. Tell your name and pay money for the workshop. The staff will guide you to your reserved seat where the materials for making are prepared.

 Image of handmade miso workshop in the lecture room

All the attendees of the workshop were women except for me, at the time when I joined it. The ratio of the first-time guests and the frequent guests was 3:7. Koizumi Koujiya has a certification system for the guests. According to the number of times the guests attended, they can get a prize or privilege. There was a guest who attended 6 times at that time.

Handmade miso workshop started.

The handmade miso workshop started as scheduled. This time I applied the course to make miso and salted malted rice. We will make salted rice malt after miso making.

Miso making

First of all, I have to check the prepared materials. Boiled soybeans are in the tray on the picture and malted rice in the brown paper bag. Also, salt is there though it is covered and not visible.

 Materials of handmade miso
1.Crush the boiled soybeans

This process might be the main process of miso making. Crush the boiled soybeans fully not to leave its particle shape. The soybeans are packed in a thick plastic bag which can endure strong force. So, there are no problems if you hit the bag hard.

 Boiled soybeans

Crush it hard steadily.

 Crush the boiled soybeans.

Crush it and crush, and then crush it more. I have to crush it until it will be like peanut butter in the end. Even if I crush it until then, some soybeans still retain its shape. And It will be dregs of miso which remains in the bottom of soy soup.

 Crushed soybeans
2.Mix malted rice and salt, and make Shiokiri kouji (Salt mixed malted rice)

Next process is making Shiokiri kouji (salt mixed malted rice) by mixing malted rice and salt.

 Shiokiri kouji (salt mixed malted rice)

Koizumi Koujiya use the kouji mold called fimbrial mold to make the malted rice. The fimbrial mold grow softy fine hairs around the malted rice. The kouji mold has an advantage of decomposing starch. And it will make miso much sweeter.

 Malted rice of fimbrial mold
3.Mix the crushed soybeans and Shiokiri kouji (salt mixed malted rice)

Mix the crushed soybeans of No.1 process and Shiokiri kouji (salt mixed malted rice) of No.2 process. In this process, the three elements of miso, that is soybeans, malted rice, and salt are mixed together.

 Soybeans, malted rice, and salt are mixed together
4.Divide the mixture into 6 pieces and shape them into a ball shape

Divide the mixture of No.3 process into 6 pieces and shape them into a ball shape. Squash the balls not to let air come into the preservation container.

5.Put them in the barrel and arrange the shape, and cover them with plastic wrap.

Make space around the mixture and arrange the shape of it.

 Miso in the container

Receiving instruction in covering it with plastic wrap to prevent getting moldy, arrange its shape finer. This shape is the final.

 Cover the miso in the container with plastic wrap

Put on the lid of the barrel and finish.

 Making handmade miso is completed

Preserve it about a half year in this condition. The staff told me that the warm area, such as space on a refrigerator or space on the back of TV, is suitable to preserve the barrel. Koizumi koujiya will send a notification to tell the good timing for eating, not to forget the barrel during the half-year preservation. It is a good reminder of your precious miso.

Salted rice malt making

Next is salted rice malt making. The processes are following.

1.Mix the malted rice and salt

The materials are malted rice and salt. The malted rice is in the paper bag.

 The materials of salted rice malt

Put the salt in the paper bag and shake it.

 Put the salt in the paper bag
3.Displace it in the container and pour water in it.

Displace the mixture of malted rice and salt of No.2 process in the other container, and pour water in it and that is all. Stir it once a day every day, and one week later, it will become salted rice malt.

Salted rice malt is called all-purpose seasoning. So, you can use it for any kind of dish. I use it to boil pasta, for pork dishes, and to make curry.

 Add water to Shiokiri kouji (salt mixed malted rice)

In closing

The word “to make miso” reminds us of very hard work. But Koizumi Koujiya staffs will do the hard work, such as boiling soybeans, instead of us. What we have to do is crushing soybeans, making Shiokiri kouji (salt mixed malted rice), and mixing them together. And all you have to do is enjoying the delicious miso making workshop.

There were some guests who joined the workshop many times. So, asked them “Why you join this workshop so many times.”

  1. The handmade miso is so delicious.
  2. I want to make a different type of miso than I made last time.
  3. I want my family to taste my handmade miso.
  4. If I join the workshop one more time, I can get a prize and privilege.

I got answers like above.

The time schedule of the workshop is 50 minutes for miso making, and 10 minutes for salted rice malt making. The total time is one hour. You might assume that it will take a long time, but the time passed by in a blink of my eye.

Koizumi koujiya has started the online miso making workshop on May 2020. They arranged the online meeting system for the workshop. So, the guests living far away also can join it. The on-site workshop was canceled in April, but it will be restarted in the middle of June taking the current situation into account.

Company name Koizumi koujiya & Co.,Ltd.
Address 〒222-0011 5-24-25 Kikuna, Kouhoku ward, Yokohama, Kanagawa Pref.
Contact Tel:045-432-7488
Web site https://www.koujiya.com/workshop/shop/s-english/
Writer Tadayuki Emoto(Diagate)

Author of this article:Tadayuki Emoto

Tadayuki Emoto

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