Natto is essential to the Japanese table and Ibaraki Prefecture is Japan’s biggest natto- producing region.
Ibaraki is located in central Japan, in an area blessed with four distinct seasons that are conducive to a rich diversity of agricultural products. This land of abundance supplies a wealth of ingredients found in the traditional Japanese diet.
Ibaraki’s prefectural capital, Mito, is famous for natto, with the product reportedly tracing its distant origins back to the city. As the story goes, natto was discovered by accident by General Minamoto-no-Yoshiie at Mito on his way to Tohoku in Northern Japan in 1083. The General and his troops came under attack shortly after cooking some soybeans; they packed them in straw bags before escaping, only to find later that they had fermented. The troops ate them anyway and liked the taste, so natto was born!