Guide to Traditional and Regional Japanese Vegetables

Guide to Traditional and Regional Japanese Vegetables


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.

 

Guide to Traditional and Regional Japanese Vegetables

Udo (ウド)

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.

 

Guide to Traditional and Regional Japanese Vegetables

Okahijiki (オカヒジキ)

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.

 

Guide to Traditional and Regional Japanese Vegetables

Sansho (サンショウ/山椒)

Sansho, also known asJapanese Pepper, is a medicine and spice. While it is spicy it is sometimes used in desserts.

 

Guide to Traditional and Regional Japanese Vegetables

Jinenjo (ジネンジョ/自然薯)

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. 

 

Guide to Traditional and Regional Japanese Vegetables

Junsai (ジュンサイ/じゅん菜)

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.

 

Guide to Traditional and Regional Japanese Vegetables

Seri (セリ/芹)

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.

 

Guide to Traditional and Regional Japanese Vegetables

Tade (タデ/蓼)

Tade, also known asWater Pepper, is usually grown in riverbanks and wetlands. It is commonly used in vinegars and used to make sashimi tsuma.

 

Guide to Traditional and Regional Japanese Vegetables

Tsuruna (ツルナ/つる菜)

Tsuruna is internationally known asNew Zealand Spinach. It typically grows along the coastline. It is usually boiled or used in stir fry dishes. 

 

Guide to Traditional and Regional Japanese Vegetables

Hamabofu (ハマボウフウ/浜防風)

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.

 

Guide to Traditional and Regional Japanese Vegetables

Hishi (ヒシ/菱)

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. 

 

Guide to Traditional and Regional Japanese Vegetables

Fuki (フキ/蕗)

Fuki, also known asButterbur, is a vegetable commonly found in the mountains. It is usually made into tempura or made into stir fry.

 

Matsuna (マツナ/松菜)

Matsuna is a vegetable that resembles a small pine tree. It is commonly used in marinades and toppings. 

 

Guide to Traditional and Regional Japanese Vegetables

Mitsuba (ミツバ/三つ葉)

Mitsuba, also known asStone Parsley, is a herb that is usually used as a garnish for soups, dumplings and salads.

 

Guide to Traditional and Regional Japanese Vegetables

Myoga (ミョウガ/茗荷)

Myoga, also known asJapanese Ginger, is a type of ginger that is usually used as a garnish for soups, salads and sushi.

 

Hakuran (ハクラン/白藍)

Hakuran is a hybrid cabbage between the Chinese Cabbage and Common Cabbage. It is enjoyed in salads or pickled.

 

Guide to Traditional and Regional Japanese Vegetables

Goboazami (ゴボウアザミ/牛蒡薊)

Goboazami is known internationally asThistleDifferent part of the plant can be eaten but it is commonly made into tempura or served pickled.
 

 

About the author:

Anna Ayvazyan

Anna Ayvazyan

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! 

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