7 types of condiments (薬味) used in Japanese cuisine

“Yakumi” means condiments or garnished foods. Every Japanese dishes have this  Yakumi. These not only making foods look colorful and tasty, but also aid in digestion and prevent food poisoning.

Today, I would like to introduce Japanese Yakumi.


“Negi” means leeks. It has antibacterial properties and improves the effect of recovery from fatigue.

There are almost 4kinds of leeks in Japan, Asatsuki, Wakegi, Konegi and just leeks. They are so similar that even Japanese can’t really them distinguish.

Negi (ねぎ)

“Negi” means Japanese leek. The white part is often used in Japanese cuisine.
We use them as toppings of ramen, nimono or so.

Asatsuki (あさつき)


This originally grew in the mountains. It is a plant that grows by bulbs.

Asatsuki is more brightly colored, flavorful, and pungent than any other leeks.

Wakegi (わけぎ)


On the other hand, Wakegi is thinner than Negi and thicker than Asatsuki.
It is also more flavorful, but sweeter and less pungent than Asatsuki.

Wakegi is a hybrid of leek and onion, so it grows by bulbs kind a Asatsuki.

Konegi (こねぎ)

“Konegi” is young leeks. In western Japan, Negi means this one, not white.

Mitsuba (みつば)


Japanese hornwort is called “Mitsuba” this means 3 leaves. (“Mitsu” means 3)
This is Japanese hornwort or wild chervile. 

We often use these leaves as a topping of  noodles on the top or stews.

This herbs with a mild flavor and crispy texture. 

Gyoja ninniku (行者ニンニク)

Gyouja ninniku

“Gyouja” or  “Gyoja” means mountain ascetic, “ninniku” means garlic. This is wild garlic, Alpine leek.
Have you ever seen this herb in your country? 

Mountain ascetics don’t permit to eat garlic because it increases their sexual stamina, but only this herb is allowed.

So, it is named as “Gyouja ninniku”. Yes, they can eat it.
These grow in high mountains only. We rarely see them in Tokyo.

Gyoja ninniku recipe

Gyouja ninniku

We usually eat them with tempura, or dipped into soy sauce.

Kinome (木の芽)


“Kinome” is leaves of the  young Japanese Sansho pepper.

This is used as a topping for soups or seasoned rice with vegetables. Tapped this in both palms then placed on top of foods, it is more aroma!

Japanese Sansho is often used in Kyoto cuisine, as most of the sansho produced in Japan comes from Kyoto.

Shin Shouga (新ショウガ / 新生姜)


Do you know a Japanese movie “Shin-Godzilla“?  “Shin” means fresh or new.
Shin shoga appears during the summer season is called fresh ginger, distinguish it from regular ginger. It is less pungent and more crunchy.

Gari (ガリ)


When you have eaten sushi in real Japanese sushi restaurant,
It’s always served with sushi.

I explain about gari on another page.

Beni shouga (紅ショウガ)

beni shouga

The red one is called “Beni-shouga”. “Beni” means red. This has bacteriocidal effect and refreshes the mouth.
We often eat them on Tonkotsu ramen, Okonomiyaki or Yakisoba.

Myouga (みょうが / 茗荷)


“Myouga” is also “Mioga”,  original Japanese ginger.

Myoga has a distinct aroma and bitter taste, is often used as a topping for somen noodles and tofu.

Daikon Oroshi (大根おろし)

daikon oroshi

“Daikon” means Japanese radish. “Orohi” means grater. Red one is called “Momiji oroshi “. This is grated with carrots. 

Daikon oroshi is used many kinds of Japanese menus. It prevents to lie heavy on the stomach by oil and increases the appetite.

Kankitsu-rui (柑橘類)

“Kankitsu-rui” means citrus. We have Aoyuzu, green yuzu. more bitter than yellow yuzu.

There are other unique citrus fruits in Japan, kinds sudachi and kabosu in addition to yuzu. These not only remove fishy, but also increase appetite.


I introduced them on this page.

Kaiware daikon (カイワレ大根)

kaiware daikon

“Kaiware daikon” means daikon sprouts. 

This is often used as a topping for sushi and soups because of its little bit pungent flavor and delight our eyes.


There are also known as “Kaiware-na” or “Toumyou”.

Goma (ごま / ゴマ / 胡麻)


“Goma” means sesame seeds.
It is the Japanese word of “Cheating” is “Goma kasu” . This “kasu” means sprinkling. (But, this is unusual verb)

Why “sprinkling sesame” means cheating?



Japanese often sprinkles sesame on every foods, because it makes a bad dish taste better.

So, the “sprinkling of sesame” has turned into “cheating” meaning.



A verb of Crushing sesame is called “Goma wo suru”.

“Apple-polish” is called “Gomasuri” in Japan.


Because the figure of hand hardener with both hands looks like crushing sesame seeds with a stick.

I introduced apart of Japanese Yakumi. As these are only vegetables, healthy, and tasty.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: