Recently in Japan, there has been a growing movement to promote traditional regional vegetables nationwide. A lot of vegetables currently sold in supermarkets in Japan are imported from overseas. However there are still many native Japanese vegetables. Usually these vegetables are not used as the main ingredient in cooking, but are rather used as a side dish or in condiments.
Udo, also known asAralia Cordata,is usually found grown in shady locations (like caves or deep holes). It can be eaten raw and can be usually be found grated in salads and soups.
Okahijiki, sometimes referred to as Land Seaweed, is a herb that is grown in coastal areas from Hokkaido to Kyushu. The leaves can be eaten raw or pickled.
Sansho, also known asJapanese Pepper, is a medicine and spice. While it is spicy it is sometimes used in desserts.
Jinenjo, also known asJapanese Mountain Yam. It is typically grown in fields and in mountains. It is known for it's sticky texture when it is grated.
Junsai, also known asWater Shield is a type of water vegetable. It is a specialty vegetable of Akita Prefecture with 90% of it's production nationally coming from Mitane Town. It is commonly used in vinegar and soups.
Seri, also known asJapanese Parsley, is a herb that is commonly used in the rice porridge (Nanagusagayu/七草粥) traditionally served on January 7th.
Tade, also known asWater Pepper, is usually grown in riverbanks and wetlands. It is commonly used in vinegars and used to make sashimi tsuma.
Tsuruna is internationally known asNew Zealand Spinach. It typically grows along the coastline. It is usually boiled or used in stir fry dishes.
Hamabofu, also known asGlehnia, is a vegetable that grows on sandy coastlines. It is usually served with sashimi, made into tempura or used in soups.
Hishi, sometimes referred to asJapanese Water Chestnut, is a type of herb that grows in ponds or wetlands. It's usually eaten as a snack, fried or used in stir fries.
Fuki, also known asButterbur, is a vegetable commonly found in the mountains. It is usually made into tempura or made into stir fry.
Matsuna is a vegetable that resembles a small pine tree. It is commonly used in marinades and toppings.
Mitsuba, also known asStone Parsley, is a herb that is usually used as a garnish for soups, dumplings and salads.
Myoga, also known asJapanese Ginger, is a type of ginger that is usually used as a garnish for soups, salads and sushi.
Hakuran is a hybrid cabbage between the Chinese Cabbage and Common Cabbage. It is enjoyed in salads or pickled.
Goboazami is known internationally asThistle. Different part of the plant can be eaten but it is commonly made into tempura or served pickled.
About the author:
Hi I'm Anna, currently a 5th year JET (from Australia) working in Himeji. I love exploring Japan and finding new things to experience and try, particularly sweets!