What is Koji Starter for Shoyu in Sachet --Special Product from "Hishiroku" Shop, Kyoto Established 300 years ago, this is the koji starter for shoyu (Japanese Soy Sauce), made by...

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What is Koji Starter for Shoyu in Sachet --Special Product from "Hishiroku" Shop, Kyoto

Established 300 years ago, this is the koji starter for shoyu (Japanese Soy Sauce), made by the long-established store "Hishiroku" in Kyoto, Japan.

What makes this koji starter special is the well-balanced encoder power and good aroma of traditional koji.

Please use it for making fresh and delicious Japanese Soy Sauce.


This product contains 100g of koji starter (Aspergillus) that can be stored for a long time, in conveniently sachet package so you can open it just as much as you need.

This is a very suitable koji starter/koji seed for those who want to make koji at home.

100g of this koji starter can be used to produce 360 litres of shoyu (the volume of finished shoyu before adding more water {because the taste of just-finished-shoyu is very strong and thick} is 360 litres).

Find out more information about shoyu (Japanese Soy Sauce) in our blog below!


How to Choose The Right Japanese Soy Sauce
During your grocery shopping in the nearest Asian supermarket, you might find multiple choices of Japanese soy sauce. Thin, thick, tamari, it can be very confusing. So, how do you choose the best Japanese soy sauce? We will explain the type of soy sauce to avoid and delicious recipes that uses soy sauce for your cooking ideas too!
Click here to see more >>


We are pleased to inform you that Hishiroku Koji Starter Spores for Shoyu 100g is now available on Amazon USA. Click the link to see the product!


What is Koji Starter/Koji Seed?

Koji starter or koji seed is the Aspergillus spore that becomes the source of koji.

Fermented foods such as miso and amazake (sweet sake) are made from raw koji.

And if there is no koji starter, you cannot make koji.
In the brewing industry, we call the koji starter as "sprouts."
The appearance of the koji starter's bud popped out and its whitish hyphae grows resembles the bean sprouts and budding trees figure, so it's called like that.


Comparative Chart of Koji Starter

Choukaku-kin Koji Starter Kairyou Choukaku-kin Koji Starter Koji Starter for Miso Kinzanji Koji Starter Koji Starter for Shouyu
Koji Starter Koji Starter Koji Starter Koji Starter Koji Starter
Features The finished result is white koji. Basic koji starter that suitable for any kojis. Ideal for amazake (sweet sake). The finished result is the most white-colored that other koji starter. Recommended for white miso. Ideal for rice and barley/wheat miso. The finised result will have a balanced taste. Ideal for bean koji. Increase the flavor of bean miso (mame miso). Ideal for shouyu (Japanese soy sauce). It will have delicious result.
Colors Koji Starter Koji Starter Koji Starter Koji Starter Koji Starter
Amazake (Sweet Sake) Very
but not recommended
but not recommended
but not recommended
Shio Koji (Salt Koji) Very
but not recommended
but not recommended
but not recommended
White Miso Very
but not recommended
Suitable Usable,
but not recommended
Rice and barley/wheat miso Suitable Suitable Very
Suitable Usable,
but not recommended
Bean miso Suitable Suitable Suitable Very
but not recommended
Shouyu (Japanese soy sauce) Suitable Usable,
but not recommended
Suitable Suitable Very

More Fermented Foods Recipe from Kawashima The Japanstore

recipe link
Fermentation Food Recipes
Click Here

What is Koji?

Give water to raw grains (rice, barley, beans, etc.), sprinkle seeds on steamed grains, and culture the seeds under temperature conditions suitable for the growth of Aspergillus oryzae.
That is how this koji starter is made.

Koji has so many kinds of enzymes that it is said to be a treasure house of enzymes, and it decomposes grains with its power.
Also, koji itself is also a nutritious food filled with sugar, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, etc. All these nutritions are made by the koji starter (Aspergillus oryzae).
Using koji, you can make traditional fermented foods such as sake, authentic shochu, mirin, miso, soy sauce, vinegar, amazake (sweet sake), etc.

miso amazake shoyu

Health Benefits of Koji

When the intestinal environment (intestinal flora) gets better, the condition of your skin will be better and immunity will be improved.
It is fermented food that arrange this intestinal environment.
And, fermented foods are always made by microorganisms that induce fermentation.

The familiar ones are such as Aspergillus oryzae, Bacillus natto, Lactobacillus, and other bacteria/fungus.
Among them, the one that creates miso, shouyu (Japanese soy sauce) and sake is koji starter (Aspergillus oryzae).
This koji starter (Aspergillus oryzae) matches well with Japan's climate, and it was found in the Muromachi Period (1336–1573)

Major Nutrients of Koji

    • Vitamin B1 : Helps produce energy | Fatigue recovery | Suppress irritation/stress feeling | Amnesia prevention | Helps breaking down carbohydrates

    • Vitamin B2 : Helps the metabolism of skin | Helps breaking don lipids | Accelerate growth speed | Sebum control | Prevent oral ulcer/stomatitis

    • Vitamin B6 : Reduce premenstrual syndrome (PMS) | Improve immunity | Prevent arteriosclerosis | Helps breaking down proteins and lipids | Prevent oral ulcer/stomatitis | Suppress the excitation of nerve cells

    • Vitamin H (Biotin) : Suppressing the cause of atopic dermatitis | Prevent diabetes | Alleviate epilation and gray hairs

    • Pantothenic acid : Stress resistant | Helps breaking down lipids | Detoxification from chemical compound | Increase good cholesterol | Maintaining the health of skin | Increase immunity

    • Essential amino acids : Among the 20 types of amino acids making up proteins, nine kinds of them can not be synthesized in the body. If there are any lacks of them, muscle, blood, bone cannot be made.
      These nutrients can be consumed in supplements, but when ingested from koji based food, the absorption rate in body is over 90%.

The Amount of The Koji Rice That Can be Made and the Amount of Rice and Koji Starter Used

Portion of rice

Portion of koji starter

Amount of finished koji (estimated)

The Amount of The Koji Rice That Can be Made and the Amount of Rice and Koji Starter Used

Note: 合 is a Japanese unit of measurement, usually used to measure rice, sake, etc. (1合 equal to approx. 150 grams, 0,18 liters, or 0,33 metres square)

This is just a reference to the amount of koji rice and koji starter seed.
For the koji starter, it is easier to make koji rice if you use koji starter in bigger amount. Even if you use a lot of koji starter, there will be no problem.

The Amount of Miso That Can Be Made and the Amount of Ingredients Used

Finished MisoFinished-Miso 2.5 kg 5 kg 7.5 kg 10 kg 12.5 kg 15 kg 17.5 kg 20 kg 22.5 kg 25 kg
Rice KojiRice koji 1 kg 2 kg 3 kg 4 kg 5 kg 6 kg 7 kg 8 kg 9 kg 10 kg
SoybeansSoybeans 500 gr 1 kg 1.5 kg 2 kg 2.5 kg 3 kg 3.5 kg 4 kg 4.5 kg 5 kg
SaltSalt 300 gr 600 gr 900 gr 1.2 kg 1.5 kg 1.8 kg 2.1 kg 2.4 kg 2.7 kg 3 kg
Finished MisoFinished-Miso 2.5 kg 5 kg 7.5 kg 10 kg 12.5 kg
Rice KojiRice koji 1 kg 2 kg 3 kg 4 kg 5 kg
SoybeansSoybeans 500 gr 1 kg 1.5 kg 2 kg 2.5 kg
SaltSalt 300 gr 600 gr 900 gr 1.2 kg 1.5 kg

15 kg 17.5 kg 20 kg 22.5 kg 25 kg
6 kg 7 kg 8 kg 9 kg 10 kg
3 kg 3.5 kg 4 kg 4.5 kg 5 kg
1.8 kg 2.1 kg 2.4 kg 2.7 kg 3 kg
This is the portion for miso with salt concentration 12.5% (sweet flavor).

For the details of how to make koji rice, please go to this page >>How to Make Koji Rice
■Recipes that use koji rice >> >>How to Make Shio Koji >>How to Make Amazake (Sweet Sake)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How long is the life of koji starter (koji seed)? How long can I keep it?
・ If the package is unopened and stored in a vegetable compartment of a refrigerator etc., the standard for storage period is about 6 months.
・ After the package is opened, please seal it with zip lock etc. and save it in a vegetable room of a refrigerator. With this, you can save the koji starter for about 6 months.
How can I store the finished koji rice?
・ If you want to store it for 1-2 days, please put it in cold dark place with temperature lower than 15ºC.
・ If you want to store the koji rice for 2-3 days, please put it in the refrigerator.
・ If you want to store it for more than 3 weeks, please put it in the freezer. In there, the koji starter can be saved until 3 months.
Can I drink koji starter as it is?
Because it's no a drink, please do not drink it.
For the supplement, we recommed you the KAWASHIMAYA "Lactic Acid Bacteria Powder" - Probiotic Supplement Taken from Japanese Fermented Foods (100 g)
How much shoud I use the koji starter when making koji rice?
The amount of koji starter is about 1.3g-10g for 1kg of rice (rice for raw material) (about 0.2g-2g per 150g of rice)
If you are not used to koji rice making (of first time try) it's better to use the koji starter more.
Even if you use much of it, there will be no problem.

・About the finised amount:
If you steam the rice, the steamed rice will be 1.8-2 times heavier than original/raw weight.
Then, after the koji rice is completed the weight will be 0.9 times of the weight after steamed. Thus, the finished amount of rice koji will be 1.62 (1.8x0.9)~1.8 (2x0.9) times from the weight of original/raw rice.
For example, if the raw rice is 1kg, the finised amount of koji rice is 1.62-1.8 kg.
(This is an estimated amount. The amount of finished koji rice depends on the soaking condition, steaming condition, and the condition of fermentation process.)
The color of finished rice koji is reddish brown and smells strange, can I use it?
There is a high possibility that other bacteria are mixed and proliferating in the process of making it. Please do not use it.
After you sterilized all the equipments, please try increasing the amount of koji starter when making koji rice next time (about 3-4 times more) so it's easier to ferment.
Also, please be careful about temperature control during fermentation process.

Customer's Testimonies

I always use The Hishiroku Shop's koji starter to make koji. I have made koji more than 30 times, but I've never failed. It is so handy because you can make various fermented foods with your own homemade koji

It takes a while to make it, but I like it because it's much cheaper and produce better quality of koji rice than the ones that being sold in the market.

I challenge myself to make my own koji for the first time.
I entrust the temperature control to Yogurtia device, and I use Akitakomachi rice for the ingredients.
Until the second maintenance, from my amateur eyes there's not much change in the koji and I got excited about how well it can be done. But after 40 hours, the fluffy koji rice was completed! 
I use the koji immediately for making amazake and shio koji, and the result is delicious with a gentle taste.
The instruction recipe which I got along in the package is also very helpful.
Next time, I want to make barley miso with barley koji.

The Benefits of Handmade Koji Rice

You know exactly what ingredients are being used.

Formerly, in the Japanese family, miso, shouyu, amazake etc. were homemaded with koji. However, the eating habits change with the time, and miso, shouyu, amazake changed from "things to make" to "things to buy." Under such circumstances, there are many people who are uneasy because they don't know what type of rice is used, in foods such as miso and shio koji (salt koji) available at supermarkets etc. If it's handmade, you can make it with pesticide-free rice prepared by yourself so it's safe.

Handmade is fun!

When Kawashimaya's staffs tried to make handmade koji rice, they're impressed that their hands became so smooth. It's a famous story that because they engage in sake-making, the hands of chief brewer at sake (Japanese liquor) brewery is beautiful. In koji rice's nutrients, there are a lot of components that make the skin beautiful. Then, if you make koji rice by yourself, you will take care of it like your own child. Thus, the miso and amazake you made will become more delicious.

It's more economical.

When making miso, you will need koji in kilograms. If you buy it, it will be really pricey. For that, if you make your own koji using koji starter (Apergillus oryzae), it will be much more economical because you can even make koji rice from 15kg of rice.

Handmade Homemade Koji

Koji and Rice
The Steamed Rice, is What Determines the Quality of Koji Rice
If the rice used in koji rice making is cooked with rice cooker or the like, the amount of water (60% or more) becomes too much, and it won't be finished as a good koji rice.
In order to make the rice with moderate water content (about 38%), it's necessary to "steam" the rice with proper steam.
The professionals in koji-making are making steamed rice with bamboo steamer (seiro).
Furthermore, by using steaming cloth made of tetoron, the time loss (temperature drop) caused by the rice sticking on the cloth can be eliminated, so you can do the seeding step (sprinkling the koji starter on steamed rice) smoothly.

Koji-making Professionals' Favorite Tools!
Koji-making's Best Friends

Tetoron Cloth

Strong against high temperature, excellent in steaming.
Rice won't stick to the cloth, a very handy steaming cloth.
It's also useful for moisture control during the warming of koji.

Tetoron Cloth
Seiro Bamboo Steamer

Seiro (Bamboo Steamer)

Steamed rice is the key to make koji.

Using bamboo steamer/seiro, steam the rice with high heat for about 40 minutes.
It's also a useful tool for daily dishes.

Tips for Making Steamed Rice from the Professionals

Bamboo steamer is recommended to steam the rice!
Also, tetoron steaming cloth is highly recommended!
Don't forget to steam the rice with high heat.

When steam/vapor comes out from the surface of rice and the surfaces become transparent, cover the steamer basket.

Steam it for about 40 minutes (recommended) after you put on the lid.
When steaming in bamboo steamer that has two or more rows, change the order of rows in midway of steaming process.

Tips for making steamed rice taught by professionals

Message from Hishiroku Corp., the Maker of Koji Seed Starter - Special Product from Hishiroku Shop, Kyoto

In the main region of "The Land of Royal Castle" of Kyoto, standing there for over 300 years is the reputable "Hishiroku" Shop. In its long history, we devotedly making steady progress of koji starter (koji seed).

We believe that small activities hidden in koji starter's Aspergillus will eventually produce big things and will become life force for tomorrow, so we are making research and efforts to deliver the pure, stable, and high quality products of koji starter.

We are looking forward to your further patronage in using Hishiroku's koji starter for making koji.

Hiroshiku Koji starter

Hishiroku Corp.

Product's Details

Name Koji Starter (Koji Seed) for Shoyu in Sachet
Netto 100 grams
Expired Date About half a year
Storage Method Please put it in cold dark place with temperature lower than 15ºC.
Koji starter Shoyu 100g

Important Points

  • Be sure to clean up tools, cloths, hands etc. properly and be careful so that germs etc. Don't get in.
  • Please use as soon as possible after you open it.
  • This product is for rice koji and barley koji. Please do not use it for other purposes.
  • We will deliver it in a thick envelope. [For Japan region, this product will be shipped by Kuroneko Mail. For outside Japan, this product will be shipped by EMS.]
  • The product will be mailed to your home (if it's stolen or damage of goods occurs after being mailed, refund or exchange can not be done, please notice accordingly.)
  • Delivery days will be 1-2 days in Japan region and 1-2 weeks outside Japan. Depending on the area, it may take longer.
  • We make it so that the product will arrive as soon as possible, but we can not deliver it on exact date or time of arrival.
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