6 basic seasonings for japanese cuisine (調味料)

There are many unique Japanese original seasonings as well as wasabi. Some seasonings are not overseas!


I introduce typical Japanese seasonings in 2 parts.

Japanese Mustard.

This is difference from French mustard. Japanese mustard has no seeds and is not spicy so much. 

corn dog
We put it on a corn dog( I do not know why we eat usually corn dog on ketchup and this mustard), Oden, and Nattou also.

Sanshou (山椒)

山椒 (2)

Japanese pepper.
Kyoto is famous for Sansho. Chinese “Hoajao” is similar, but difference.

This taste is “numbness” and spicy. I can not explain well,sorry..but, if you know this unique taste, you will be not able to stop eating foods without this pepper anymore. You can experience more than ever. 

Unagi Kabayaki (うなぎの蒲焼)

When we eel teriyaki(We call the Unagi kabayaki), we usually use this seasoning. Spicy seasoning is good in the summer because it increases appetite when it tends to weaken. Japanese summer is too humid.

I will introduce this one here.

Miso (味噌 / みそ)

Miso is a fermented soybean paste.

There are some types of miso, red miso, light brown miso, thick brown miso and general miso. Their colors are depending on the region.

Shiro miso (白みそ)

The light brown miso is called “Shiro miso” that used mainly in Kansai. This taste is a little sweet.

Compared to other types of miso, white miso is more refined and has less miscellaneous flavors. It is one of the most expensive seasonings in Japan.

Aka miso (赤みそ)

Strong color’s one is used around Aichi prefecture, it is called “Aka miso” or “Mame miso”

They don’t use red miso as a miso soup. They use it as a sauce for katsu and oden. This is why it tastes a little sweet and has a strong soy sauce flavor.
You may be addicted !?

Hatcho miso (八丁味噌)

Hatcho miso

Hatcho miso is a highest-grade miso that has satisfied national standards.
This is naturally brewed for more than 2years. It has a unique umami flavor due to the high salt content to prevent spoilage.
It contains less salt than it appears.

Shichimi Togarashi (七味唐辛子)


“Shichimi” means 7 tastes. Togarashi means “Cayenne pepper”. 

This is a powder that mixed cayenne pepper, black sesame, hemp seeds, Japanese pepper, the dried orange peel, the mustard of Shiso and poppy seeds( Now, not includes poppy seeds).

This seasoning is for soup, noodle or meat recipe.

We use this when we want to add not only the spiciness but also the flavor.

Ichimi togarashi (一味唐辛子)

“Ichimi” means a kind. This is made from only one kind of chili peppers powder. 

The spiciness varies depending on the type of chili, kinds red chili, habanero, or jalapeno.

Basically, we only use it when making Chinese food.

Yuzu kosho (柚子胡椒)

柚子胡椒 (2)

“Yuzu” is Japanese original citron. This has little unique bitter. This spice is a paste type seasoning that mixed Yuzu citron and green pepper. So, this is little spicy… if you try eating it once, you must be addicted!

It is often used with light meat kind a chicken breast Yakitori.

Koji (麹)

“Koji” means rice malt. The exact syllabus is “Ko-u-ji” in three parts.

This means Sake lees. Japanese often hot drinks with sugar in winter. This is called “Amazake”. Because, it works body warm up.

Also a mixture of salt and Kouji is called “Shio-kouji”(“Shio” means salt) .

Shio koji (塩麴)


Shiokouji is one of the new seasonings. This is not yet available overseas.
It is made by fermenting a mixture of koji and salt. When vegetables, fish or meat are pickled in it, the texture becomes milder and turns into something that melts on the tongue.

Amazake (甘酒)


Amazake is a drink prepared from fermented sweet rice. Amazake is often said the IV drip to drink because it is high in nutrition.

I explain about Amazake here.

Today, I introduced 6 original Japanese seasonings. There are 6 more. You may not have seen them. Because I have never seen that seasoning abroad.

See you😄

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