Tokoname Crock, The essential for Fermentation


I hope this blog post finds you well and you are still making the most out of these madly frustrating days.

Ever since the evil corona virus robustly covered the entire globe and people were unmercifully forced to shrink their daily activities, I have stronger urge to ferment. I am even more craved to communicate with the microbe friends I am used to. Probably this is the reflex reaction for me to deal with this crisis in my own way. These minute creatures have been on this planet far before we human came into existence, let alone newly born corona virus. While I am indulged into miso making, sake making etc. I can forget about the mad reality and feel the circulation of lives. I can regain some sort of calmness and resume the sense of normality.

It seems like I am not only one. I heard so many people now want to make miso. Only if I hosted more koji workshops…. (I managed to host 4 miso workshops this year, but not koji…) While I can’t provide koji at the moment, which is essential ingredient to make miso, for obvious health and safety reason, I would like to at least provide some information about the beautifully functional crocks which led me to the wonderful world of fermentation.

The company who produces these crocks are called Yamagen-Tohen established on 1967. They are located in Tokoname-city, Aichi-prefecture. Aichi-prefecture has over 1000 years of history of fermentation and developed rich and distinctive fermentation culture. There are still numerous number of sake, miso, soy-sauce, mirin and vinegar breweries as well as ancient salt pans in the region (Tokoname is at the centre of the region). At the same time, Tokoname is also very famous with its ceramic industry and has been producing the crockware (which is absolutely essential for the ferments) for over 900 years. It is not a coincidence that the industry has been developed. Their local red clay had ideal properties as ceramics material making the potteries become firm after firing in the kilns in high temperature. 

It is not hard to imagine that fermentation and ceramics industries have been developed side by side over the years, requiring each other to be there. I can see the glimpse of the history even with my own limited experience. Microbes are apparently happier and grow better in the crocks as the ferments clearly taste and smell better compared with those brewed in other environment. I can’t list up the merits and scientific evidences, as I am not an expert of this subject. But the difference is certainly there.

Back in February this year (Gosh, it has only been two months, although I feel it is ages ago. What a difference the two months made on the world…), Mr Yuji Koie, the third generation president of the company, visited UK and I had a few opportunities to host miso-making workshops with him. Everytime at the beginning of the workshops, he gave a presentation about the company and their social activities. It is not an exaggeration. People were so moved. Some are even in tears when he talked about his vision and the responsibility to preserve the culture and industry for future generation. I started to believe that perhaps his management principle and philosophy of “coexistence and co-prosperity” could be a secret element to make ferments better.


(Some crock & ferments pictures at the bottom ↓)











Soy sauce in Tokoname crock (Cylinder makes it easier to stir)
Seasonal wild garlic shiokoji
Red Dashi Miso
Soybean Yogurt in unglazed crock
Koji water for my dog
her exzema improved a lot!
Rice miso, barlen miso and soybean miso in Tokoname crock
Nuka rice bran bed for pickles
Yuzu syrup with rice koji
絶品 柚子エキスシロップ
Red koji miso
good for high BP and coresterol

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