Although spices and herbs cannot be differentiated clearly, here are some spices derived from seeds and roots and herbs as leafy greens.
Historically, Japan has been blessed with the rich fruits of the seas and the mountains, and the cuisine thus incorporates fresh ingredients. This is evident in the fact that Records of Ancient Matters written during the Nara period, already included descriptions of ginger, pepper, mustard, and wasabi. Japanese condiments are used to enhance flavor, prevent rotting, and remove the odor of ingredients, adding spiciness, aroma, and color.
Unlike Western spices, with the exception of shichimi (seven-spice mixture), the characteristic of Japanese condiments is that they are used on their own.
The sweet and sour pickled ginger maintains its permanent spot as the perfect sushi garnish. Chopped or grated, it’s a versatile condiment.
A Japanese specialty, wasabi naturally grows in mountain streams. The sharp sting essential for sushi and sashimi is popular around the world.
Spicy, slightly bitter, and harboring a strong smell, jigarashi (local mustard) is packed with flavors. It’s made by crushing seeds.
The matured fruit of the sansho pepper has a unique flavor. Mizansho is used for tsukudani (food simmered in soy sauce) or in powder form.
The chili that is harvested before turning red. When cooked, it becomes less spicy and slightly sweet.
One of the most common citrus fruits in Japan, it’s used by scrapign the skin for flavoring. Put matured yuzu in the tub to enjoy a yuzu bath.
Consumed all over the world since ancient times, sesame contains an abundance of nutrients.
This is used as garnish for candied chestnuts and incorporated widely in traditional Chinese medicine. The fruit is dried or powdered.