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Ingredients of Japanese cooking


Main vegitables used in traditional Japanese cooking are generally the follows.

Leaf vegetables

Spinach Komatsuna (Japanese mustard spinach) Hakusai (Chinese cabbage)
Negi (Green onion) Shungiku (Edible chrysanthemum)
Fuki (Japanese butterpur) Mitsuba (Japanese honewort) Ohba or Aojiso (Green perilla) Shiso (Red perilla)  

Stem vegetables

Bamboo shoot
Lotus root
Lily bulb
Udo (Japanese Spikenard)

Fruit vegetables



Common bean
Azuki (Small red bean)
Broad bean
Moyashi (Bean sprout)        


Sato-imo (Japanese taro)
Sweet popato
Yama-imo (Japanese yam)

Root vegitables

Daikon (Japanese radish)
Gobou (Edible burdock)


Maitake Nameko
Eringi Matsutake (Expensive!)      

Wild Vegitables

Warabi (Bracken)
Zenmai (Japanese royal fern)
Tsukushi (Horsetail)


Wasabi (Japanese horseradish)
Red pepper
Sansho (Japanese pepper)


Seaweeds are imprortant foods for Japanese peaople.
Westerner don't eat them, but they are eaten in east Asia, and especially Japanese people eat them much.
Edible seaweeds are limited to small number.

Especially nori is often used to wrap for sushi and onigiri. Generally its products are like black paper.

Dried Konbu
Wakame (Green seaweed)
Nori (Seaweed like moss)
Hijiki (Brown seaweed)
Mozuku (Seaweed with gelatinous coating)

Vegitables for Western dish

These vegitables are used as Western dish.
Basically, these hadn't been used for traditional Japanese dish. But these are sometimes used recent Japanese dish.

Cabbage Lettuce Green pepper Onion Tomato
Corn Potato Garlic Broccoli


Various fruits are produced in many areas in Japan.
The following fruits are the most popular fruits in the mainlnd of Japan.

Spring to early summer Summer
Biwa (Japanese loquat)
Natsumikan (Summer tangerine)
Summer Early autumn
Watermelon Peach Grape Japanese pear (Nashi) Fig
Autumn Late autumn to winter
Chestnut Kaki (Japanese persimmon) Mikan (Seedless mandarin) Apple Yuzu


Because Japan is marine nation, fish are important ingredients.
Most Japanese know the names and tastes of various fish. When we enjoy at a sushi restaurant, we must order by Japanese name of fish.
The words of most fish are short in Japanese language, so probably you are easy to learn.

Fish through all seasons

Maguro (Tuna) Aji (Horse mackerel) Sake (Salmon) Tai (Red sea bream) Unagi (Eel)
Ika (Squid) Tako (Octopus) Uni (Sea urchin) Ebi (Shrimp, prawn or lobster)

Spring fish

Sawara (Japanese spanish mackerel) Nishin (Herring) Ainame (Fat greenling) Mebaru (Black rockfish)
Amadai (Tilefish)

Summer fish

Katsuo (Bonito)
Suzuki (Japanese seabass)
Tachiuo (Cutlass fish)
Anago (Conger eel)
Iwashi (Sardine)

Autumn fish

Sanma (Saury) Saba (Mackerel) Ise-ebi (Japanese spiny lobster)  

Winter fish

Tara (Cod) Buri (Yellowtail) Karei (Righteye flounder) Hirame (Bastard halibut, flatfish) Fugu (Pufferfish)
Kinmedai (Splendid alfonsino) Ankou (Anglerfish) Kani (Crab)      

Stream fish

Ayu Masu (Trout) Koi (Carp)    


Asari (Japanese littleneck) Shijimi (Freshwater clam) Hamaguri (Common orient clam) Hotate-gai (Japanese scallop) Kaki (Oyster)
Awabi (Abalone) Sazae (Turban shell)         


Ikra (Salmon roe)
Tarako (Salted cod roe)
Kazunoko (Herring roe)


Japanese people have been eating meats from very early times.
But, since 6th century, meat eating became a taboo in accordance with the teachings of Buddhism.
In fact, it is a public stance and it appears to be true that people ate the meat of various animals such as boar, deer, bear, hare, raccoon and so on.
However, it would appear that cuttle or hen were not eaten by reason that they were beneficial labor power.

In 1871 in Meiji period the government lifted a ban on meat eating.
Since this, Japanese people began to eat beef, pork and chicken.
The Japanese dishes used meats has been invented after this time.


Beef is commonly used by thin slicing in Japanese dish. Because, knives and forks aren't used in Japanese meal.
And Japanese people prefer soft and fatty beef.
The famous Japanese dishes, sukiyaki or shabu-shabu, are used such beef.
In Japan there are very tasty and famous beef.
These are "Matsusaka beef", "Kobe beef", "Yonezawa beef" and "Ohmi beef".
Additionally there are several nice beef in Japan, "Tajima beef", "Hida beef", "Maesawa beef" and so on.


In Japanese cooking, pork is not so much used as beef.
Famous Japanese dish used pork is tonkatsu (Japanese pork cutlet). And main ingredient of Okinawa dishes is pork.
In the Japanese home, it is mainly used for Chinese dish or Western dish and shabu-shabu is sometimes used thin sliced pork instead of expensive beef.


Chicken is light meat and make nice soup, so it fits into Japanese taste.
Yakitori is the famous skewered grilled chicken. Like this dish, chicken is used by cutting small in Japanese cooking.

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