Founder & CEO, Noriyasu Okita

Founder & CEO, Noriyasu Okita

Encountering Reishi Mushrooms

I used to be diabetic. However, for a long time, I wanted to transform my body so that it would be less susceptible to disease instead of simply treating the symptoms. Thanks to reishi mushrooms (Ganoderma lingzhi), I have recovered to the point where I no longer need insulin treatments.

In the midst of my search, I began to focus on reishi mushrooms, which is considered a topical medication in Chinese medicine. In particular, I saw the potential in the rare and highly valuable rokkaku (deer antler-shaped) reishi mushroom, also known as the "King of Chinese Medicine." At some point, I decided to start artificial cultivation of reishi, even though I was running an air-conditioning equipment company, which was a completely different field.

At the time, however, artificial cultivation of reishi was arduous. Although there had been some attempts in Japan, there were many reports of failure due to the high level of technology required.

To find out the cause of this problem, I spent about two years beginning in 2002 reading books and documents, visiting China, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos, and inspecting reishi cultivation sites. What jumped out at me was the problems with the air conditioning systems in the cultivation facilities.

It was fortuitous that we were initially in the air-conditioning equipment business. From the perspective of an engineer whose main business was equipment installation, I was able to identify clear problems throughout their setups on the most fundamental level of air-conditioning principles.

When we talked to the plant managers, they told us that these issues were the result of leaving everything to their design offices and plant manufacturers. They were complete amateurs when it came to technology, and even when they consulted with those involved in the construction, they received no clear guidance.
We had mixed feelings when we discovered that this was the result of ignorance. Still, at the same time, we felt confident that we could solve the problem of artificial cultivation of reishi mushrooms by using the basic technology of air-conditioning equipment construction that we had acquired through years of experience.

Product Development Process

In 2004, we started the artificial cultivation of reishi mushrooms. We began the entire process at our integrated factory, but it was a continuous trial and error for the first two years. Even though we were professionals in air-conditioning technology, we did not have sufficient knowledge about reishi mushrooms.

In 2007, a think tank that learned of our challenge invited us to conduct joint research with the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), a public research organization established as an independent administrative institution under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).

I was told they would introduce me to Dr. Hoshino, a leading expert in mycology. At the time, I couldn't believe that a national research organization had offered to conduct joint research with a small business like ours, so I hesitated. However, Dr. Hoshino called me directly and said, "Let's work together to create a unique reishi mushroom!” I was so moved by his words that I readily agreed to the joint research. He visited our factory the day after the phone call, and our collaborative research with AIST began on that day.

With the cooperation of Dr. Hoshino, we gradually created a culture and cultivation environment by making full use of the air-conditioning and plumbing technologies of our primary business, creating fungus beds, and inoculating them in a clean room while obtaining expert advice. We used Hokkaido's groundwater, which is essential for cultivation, and repeated research and development on cultivation conditions that determine quality by changing various combinations of temperature, humidity, light, and carbon dioxide concentration.

As a result, the active ingredient in our reishi, beta-glucan, is very high at 60.6 g per 100 g, as verified by the Japan Food Research Laboratories (JFRL).

Creating a Healthy tomorrow

Our company, Hokkaido Reishi Co., Ltd., was established to improve the health of all people. Our mission is “Creating a healthier tomorrow.”
Our reishi mushrooms have been attracting attention from health-conscious people. We are located in Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost prefecture, which is blessed with a pristine environment ideal for cultivating mushrooms.

At Hokkaido Reishi, we have an integrated system covering everything from creating growing beds to the cultivation and production of capsules and infused tea.

In particular, we focus on cultivating rokkaku (deer antler-shaped) reishi mushroom, a rare and precious type with high beta-glucan content, and produce high-quality products under complete control of temperature and humidity.

Team & Production Management

Cultivation Team

Research & Development Team

Commercialization Team

All of our products are produced within our group, from creating the beds to cultivation and commercialization. We produce high-quality, safe, and reliable reishi mushrooms through integrated production with complete control of each process.

We use raw materials produced in Hokkaido and use our unique technology to treat natural water from Hokkaido, which is essential for cultivation, to build a production system that emphasizes quality. In addition, the dates of inoculation, planting, and harvesting are all managed in data format.

We are pursuing additional safety and security by ensuring traceability.