7 Types of Soybeans and Their Uses

Soybeans are very nutritious, excellent foods loved by people all over the world.

Japan has actually so many soybean products, and a lot of them are indispensable for Japanese meal.

Here, I would like to introduce different types of soybeans that actually exist in Japan.


Table of Contents

1. Yellow Soybean
2. Green Soybean
3. Black Soybean
4. Red Soybean
5. Brown Soybean
6. White Soybean
7. Kurakake Bean


1.Yellow Soybean

It is the most produced soybean in Japan. Most processed foods such as tofu and miso are made from yellow soybeans.

Although the name comes from the color of soybean skin, it’s simply called “soybean” most of the time.

Breeding of yellow soybean to meet each processed food needs has been developed these days.


2. Green Soybean

It’s mainly used for making kinako (soybean flour). Although kinako is usually made from yellow soybeans or black soybeans, that made from green soybeans is often used for uguisu-mochi (mochi filled with red bean paste and topped with green soy flour).

Also, tofu and natto (fermented soybeans) made from green soybeans have been increasing in recent years.

What Is Kinako and How Is It Used?


3. Black Soybean

It’s not everyday use product, but very popular to put in osechi box during the New Year’s holiday. Osechi is a box containing various kinds of auspicious side dishes. Sweetly boiled black soybeans are one of them.

There is another product using black soybeans besides the boiled dish.
It’s a black bean tea: you need to put about 5 roasted soybeans in a cup, pour hot water, and wait for a while. It has been popular as a non-caffeine tea.


4. Red Soybean

It’s reddish brown soybeans that is similar to adzuki beans.
But, it’s totally different type from the adzuki beans and red kidney beans.

It’s sometimes called “visionary soybeans” because that has very low production.

If you can get it, making boiled beans is the best way to taste the rare thing!

Since I couldn’t find any picture of it, please click here to see the picture of red soybeans.


5. Brown Soybean

It’s brownish soybeans, and it’s very rare beans that you never seen in grocery stores. When peeled, the inside has a yellow chestnut-like color.

The feature is that the skin is thin and soft, and it has less bean odor characteristic to soybean.

It tastes great if you boil in salt and eat as it is.


6. White Soybean

It looks the same as yellow soybeans at first glance, but white soybeans have a color closer to white than yellow soybeans. The feature is that the navel part is also white.

Boiling white soybeans is great way to cook, but using it for bean salad and minestrone (vegetable soup) is also very delicious.

I couldn’t even find the website the photo of white soybeans is posted…


7. Kurakake Bean

This is the type that part of green soybeans is black. It’s not a round shape, but a slightly crushed shape.

You can call this “panda bean” due to the black spots on the beans.

The taste and the scent of this bean is similar to nori (seaweed laver), so sometimes people call this “nori bean”.

Simply boiling the bean with just salt is a great way to taste delicious kurakake bean.


How was the 7 different types of soybeans in Japan?

Some of them are really rare, and even Japanese (including me) have never eaten before! haha

If you have a chance, please try comparing the taste of each soybeans!

Click below to see more about Japanese soybean products.
Top 21 Japanese Soybean Products