Lifestyle magazine with azuki and Japanese sweets

What is NI-O?

What is NI-O?

NI-O is the way farmers pile up the reaped beans to dry them up.

This word. “ NI-O” is named after the old Japanese language, which has the same pronunciation and means “ mountain”.

This is a very hard work. Just imagine you lifting futon up and down hundreds times. Since it’s wearing them out so much, this method has been replaced with machines. However Morita-farm sticks at this method even now.


The reasons are…

Beautiful beans

Reaped beans are very susceptible to rain, which cause beans to turn into bad color. The granted way to avoid that trouble is rinse them  before you sell them, but it lower the bean’s quality. The rainy season sets in around September or October in Japan. In order to produce beautiful beans. we set up the schedule, checking the weather forecast.


Equally dried beans

If you directly reap beans and sell them, there is always a difference in desiccation, which makes it difficult to boil them equally. What prevents beans from this problem is NI-O. You can solve this problem by soaking them overnight. However I do not recommend it since the skin of beans will be more likely to be ripped. That’s why you should buy beans at my farm. You don’t have to soak beans because our beans are equally dried beforehand.



This one is not based off of the accurate date, though. Personally I think our beans have more pleasant flavor compared with the ones without NI-O.

What I found disappointing is that the beans with NI-O method are mixed with the others because after each farmers producing beans they will be gathered together, regardless of where they are from. The consumers can’t tell which beans are produced with NI-O method or not just by looking at them. To make a long story short, NI-O doesn’t make any difference in price and farmers shift their method from NI-O to the much easier and cheaper one.

Anyway, aren’t you curious about how we do NI-O? I wan’t to let you know

1 Form based trees

2 Make triangle with three trees and put it above the based trees

3 Gather the reaped beans and squeeze them into the triangle

4 Pile reaped beans one after another

5 Gather the reaped beans. It’s killing your back!!

6 Pile them up, pile them up

7 This is the final shape. It’s almost 2 meters high. The desirable shape is cylinder.

8 Cover them with sheet to shield them from the rain. This sheet has a lot of hole to ventilate

9 Leave them as they are for a week. They will shrivel, becoming from two meter to one meter. It takes one hour for one person to make one of them.

Editor Naoko Okada.
Morita Farm(A-Net Farm Tokachi Co.,Ltd )Rie Morita.


Cook and writer about beauty and food.Naoko Okada
Cook and writer about beauty and food. She is very good at coming up with the ideas not only the flavor but also culinary performance. She also likes challenging and arranging the recipes, which are different from ordinary recipes in cooking books. When she come across the great Wagashi store, she can’t help spreading the informations and trying to make the same one.
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