Japan Technology

Bringing Japanese technology to the U.S.

Japan Technology

At Hokto, technological advances have afforded us complete control over the mushroom cultivation process, meaning a consistent, safe, and delicious supply of mushrooms all year round.

  • We utilize technology developed in Hokto’s own “Mushroom General Research Institute”

  • Based on Japanese cultivation technology

  • Most machines are made in Japan (some patented)

  • Japanese engineers are always present and educating employees during the cultivation process


Mushroom General Research Institute

the Mushroom General Research Institute

The Mushroom General Research Institute in Nagano, Japan was established in 1983 to deliver tastier and healthier mushrooms to consumers. With more than 30 researchers, scientists, and PhD’s working together, the Institute has tackled a variety of research and development challenges. For example :   

  • Cultivation of new mushroom varieties
  • Development of new culture media and technologies
  • Development of Bunashimeji (the brown Beech mushroom) without bitterness
  • Mass production of the King Trumpet mushroom and more. 

In 1986, the Institute developed the world’s first pure-white Enoki-take mushroom, Flammulina velutipes. Many other new varieties have been developed, including a less-bitter breed of Bunashimeji, or Brown Beech. The Institute overcame several difficulties inherent in the culture of King Trumpet mushrooms, and these successes enabled stable mass-production. Many of the Institute’s mushroom varieties are registered on the Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ministry’s list of seeds and seedlings, and many have acquired intellectual property rights, including patents.

Even after a new product launch, we continue to research for improvements on the taste, color or shape; it is a never-ending process.  Because of our continuous efforts, we have developed numerous new strains of Kinoko and possess various patents.


Technology for high quality Kinoko production

Developing new and better strains of Kinoko does not necessarily grow quality mushrooms. Producing high quality mushrooms would never have achieved without the advanced cultivation technique.  The Hokto Group continuously studies and improves the cultivation method in order to acquire better quality than yesterday.

We have Japanese engineers who have advanced cultivation technique always in our facility to make it happen.


Development of new and improved Kinoko

The Mushroom General Research Institute has been researching for taste improvement, and to be accepted by various age groups. Even after a new product launch, we continue to improve on taste, color, shape or size by listening to our customers.



Hokto NEVER uses any sort of genetic modification in mushroom development, instead we use:

  • Cross-breeding
  • Conventional bio-technology process

It is important to locate superior parent strain, and the search goes all over the world.  Harvested wild mushrooms are screened by our experts, then quickly and efficiently cultivated by selection.  The Institute conducts enormous amounts of test cultivation to find a new and better strain of mushroom.


Integration from seedling (spore) to cultivation and shipment

Unlike many other mushroom growers, Hokto never purchases seedling(spore) from other companies.  The origin and total process of Hokto Kinoko untill shipping are always controlled.  Hokto does even sell seedlings(spore) to other growers.


Research on the health benefits of our Kinoko

The Mushroom General Research Institute also researches the potential medical and health benefits of mushrooms. In Japan, Hokto develops healthy foods and dietary supplements to contribute to life science.

Past Researches


Hokto is the biggest Kinoko company in Japan.

Annual production of Kinoko in Japan 458,298 ton
Hokto’s production volume in Japan 71,625 ton (16% of Japan)
Shimeji, King Trumpet, and Maitake mushrooms – market share in Japan = 36%
Countries Headquarters: Japan
Subsidiaries: USA, Taiwan, Malaysia
Representative Office: Thailand
Total sales including group companies about $600 million USD
Hokto is featured in Wikipedia – Shimeji/ Hypsizygus tessellatus
Employees 1,179(as of March 31, 2015)
Number of factories in Japan 31
Mushroom General Research Institute 30+ Doctors and researchers in our own institute


Do you know Japan’s Best Global Brands?

Interbrand (considered the best branding company on the world) has ranked some of the Japanese manufacturers that produce high levels of technology.

Since they started the ranking in 2000, Japanese companies such as Toyota, SONY and HITACHI have been high in the ranking every year. This indicates that a lot of Japanese companies’ technologies are consistently high level, and their quality is always reliable – worldwide.

What brands do people associate with Japan? – A list of notable companies based in Japan


Japan Crowned Strongest Country Brand 2014

FutureBrand revealed in their 2014-15 ranking of the world’s leading country brands that Asia tops the Country Brand Index (CBI), with Japan at number one for the first time in the history of the report. PDF


Japanese Mushrooms

Shimeji, Mai-take, Enoki-take, Shi-take, (-TAKE means mushroom in Japanese) are all mushrooms sold in the US using their Japanese names.


Japan has the No. 1 longevity in the world

According to WHO data in 2015, the average life expectancy in Japan is 84.
“The following table shows the life expectancy at birth for the period 2010 to 2015.”World Population Prospects, The 2015 Revision(PDF)

Life expectancy Ranking by country

1 Japan 84
20 United Kingdom 81
34 United States 79
68 China 75
  Median age 74
  Average age 71


Both male and female sexes




















“Nagano”, where Hokto headquarters is located, is No. 1 in longevity in Japan

Kirk Spitzer wrote an article in the May 2014 AARP Bulletin, noting that “The 2.15 million residents of Japan’s Nagano Prefecture have the longest life expectancy in Japan, which is the country with longest life expectancy in the world.” – Secrets From the Longest-Living Place on Earth / AARP


Nagano, No. 1 Vegetable consumption and low-sodium movement

Hotaka mountains and Kappa bridge in Kamikochi,
Nagano, Japan

According to data from the Japanese Ministry of Health and Labor, on average, Nagano residents consume the most vegetables in Japan – 379.4g for males and 364.8g for females.  Vegetables are abundant in potassium, which helps discharge sodium from the body; that may be one of the factors for the longevity in Nagano.

Furthermore, the Nagano Prefecture government has been promoting movements to decrease sodium intake, which was very successful.

The Nagano paradox: Nagano is number 1 in vegetable consumption and longevity, but also number 1 in sodium consumption, which is related to the potential increased risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.  Mushrooms may be a hidden factor in the longevity secret of Nagano.

The three major components of umami are Inosine acid, Guanylate, and Glutamate.  Mushrooms are abundant in Guanylate and Glutamate, and with these, decreased sodium can still make the food taste delicious.