traditional Japanese food made from fermented soybeans

Natto (Japanese: なっとう (hiragana), 納豆 (kanji); nattō or nattou) is a traditional Japanese food made by fermenting soybeans. Natto is known for its strong musty smell and unusual slimy texture, which yields mucous-like (or sticky) strings when stirred and eaten. In order to mediate some of the strong flavors, it is usually eaten on top of rice with mentsuyu, a soy sauce-based condiment, or Japanese mustard to their liking. Eating Natto as a custom is not so popular in Kansai area.[1] Whether it is popular or not depends on regions in Japan.[2]

Natto is commonly eaten over rice.

There are many kinds of Natto.[2] First, Natto is classified under two types of Natto, Itohiki Natto and Ji Natto. Also Itohiki Natto has three kinds of Natto, Marudaizu Natto, Hikiwari Natto, and Goto Natto. We usually eat Marudaizu Natto and Hikiwari Natto.


An example of boxed natto with a packet of mustard and a packet of tsuyu.

Natto may be bought in stores in Styrofoam boxes. Sometimes, they come with a mustard packet and a packet of tsuyu to eat with the natto.


A natto temakizushi – a hand roll.

Although it is not customary to cook natto, natto may be prepared in food items like sushi or donburi. Donburi is any Japanese dish served with rice in a bowl. Natto can be made into a donburi by adding natto and other items like tuna or egg to rice inside a bowl. "Nattojiru" is what people add natto to miso soup as a seasoning. Also Natto is used for topping when we eat Soba, Udon, Spaghetti, Okonomiyaki and so on.

Spices, and Condiments.


In general, soy sauce, tsuyu, karashi mustard is used, but some people use egg, leek, Japanese ginger, Grated radish, laver, okra, and etc.


  1. "関西人の納豆嫌いは本当か(謎解きクルーズ)". 日本経済新聞 電子版 (in Japanese). Retrieved 2020-08-09.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Natto Beans: All About Japan's Infamous Fermented Soy Superfood! (Video) | LIVE JAPAN travel guide". LIVE JAPAN. Retrieved 2020-08-09.