In this article, we will help you relive the memories of Japanese cuisine from your vacation days. Get familiar with these Japanese spices and add the delicious flavors of Japan to your cooking.

One of the things people are most likely to remember about their visit to Japan is the delicious Japanese food. Even if you haven’t been to the City of the Sun, you may be a fan of the food at your local Japanese restaurant.

If you are thinking about recreating these recipes, we are ready to tell you the secret to their flavor. That secret is, simply put, Japanese spices. 

If you enjoy the flavors and want to make the meals in your own home, you need to know the names of their seasonings.

You’ll also want to know the appropriate combinations. In this article, we have compiled a list of Japanese spices to guide you on your culinary adventure.

The 8 Best Japanese Spices

Japanese Spices

1. Shichimi Togarashi

With its robust flavor, shichimi togarashi is one of the most famous Japanese spices. It dramatically enhances many Japanese dishes.

Several ingredients blend together to make up the spice. They include roasted orange rind, red chili pepper, sesame seeds, ground ginger, and seaweed flakes. 

Shichimi Togarashi has a nutty, bittersweet, and salty taste with peppery notes. In addition, the spice gives off a warm citrus flavor due to the orange rind it contains.

Japanese spice Shichimi Togarashi

Put a pinch of shichimi togarashi in any recipe to add a slight Japanese touch. It pairs well with many dishes, including soups, noodles, and rice. If you’re looking to buy these Japanese spices, check out this shichimi togarashi.

2. Wasabi

Wasabi is another one of the most famous Japanese spices. It is a paste made from the ground roots of the wasabi plant.

Wasabi is distinct among other spices because of its intense, strong smell and heat. In those ways, it is similar to horseradish or mustard.

Likewise, it has an aromatic, savory, fresh, and sweet vapor that leads to a burning sensation in your nose. 


Japanese recipes principally use wasabi as a condiment for sushi and sashimi. However, Japanese chefs also use wasabi powder to flavor fried peanuts, peas, and soybeans.

3. Katsuobushi

Katsuobushi is one of the most common spices in Japanese kitchens.

It comes from Skipjack tuna, which is steamed, dried, smoked, and cured in a specific type of mold. In that process, the solidifying of the tuna significantly increases the amount of inosine monophosphate. This gives the spice its unique flavor.

Katsuobushi Japanese Spice

Katsuobushi has a smoky and savory taste, like dry-cured meat, but with less salt. Thus, the flavor of the spice is more suitable for meat than for fish.

Katsuobushi comes in different thicknesses to blend better with other ingredients. For example, thick katsuobushi goes best in dashi (Japanese stock). Alternatively, thinner katsuobushi can be an excellent finishing touch for many recipes.

4. Yuzu Kosho

Another popular Japanese spice is Yuzu Kosho, a winter citrus fruit. The fruit’s flesh is edible, like that of oranges.

However, its taste is not as sour as lemon or as bitter as grapefruit. As such, the rinds have essential uses in several meals. It is also a good substitute for lemongrass in recipes.Japanese yuzu combines the tastes of grapefruit, lemon, and mandarin.

These notes give it a tart, citrusy flavor. Due to its acidity, yuzu pairs well with some traditional ingredients like soy, matcha, and ginger.


Additionally, yuzu meets the acidity requirements to pair well with savory dishes. Heavy meat cuisine is also delicious with yuzu.

It can serve as a helpful souring agent that balances soups, hot pots, and cooked vegetables.

5. Taberu Rayu

Momoya, a big rice seasoning product company, introduced Taberu Rayu in 2009. It immediately became a major sensation in Japan.

This spice is a combination of chili oil and crunchy fried garlic. Despite being a newcomer to Japanese flavors, Taberu Rayu is giving furikake, a competitor rice seasoning product, a good run for its spot. 

This Japanese spice is a versatile condiment. Its uses are not limited to rice but also extend to a wide range of foods.

For example, Taberu Rayu is a good condiment for ramen, tofu, and natto. It also pairs well with a wide range of Chinese and western cuisines. 

Taberu Rayu is mild in spiciness but prominent in flavor. It has a hot and slightly sweet taste. Plus, the pleasant crunch and bright red color make it the ideal finishing for white rice.

6. Furikake

“Furikake” is a derivative of the Japanese term “Furia Kakeru,” which means “to sprinkle.” This spice got its name because it is used by sprinkling on rice.

Japanese Koshihikari rice is one of Japan’s most delicious rice dishes. You can eat it with no add-ons, but the taste becomes extraordinary when we sprinkle furikake on it.

Furikake has a crunchy, salty, and slightly seasoned taste. It also has a nutty flavor due to its sesame seed composition.

Japanese Koshihikari

Furikake combines dried salmon flakes, bonito flakes, sugar, soy sauce, white sesame seeds, and seasoned seaweed sheets.

Aside from rice, furikake goes well with vegetables and fish. Other excellent furikake pairs are freshly cooked pasta, popcorn, salad, and soup. If you are thinking of buying some, you’ll certainly love the JFC ones right here!

7. Negi

Known as the Japanese long onion, Negi is highly regarded for its complimentary taste.

Negi’s appearance is a column of white and green segments. The white part, the longest portion, has a strong onion taste. However, this sweetens up and develops a savory flavor when cooked.

On the other hand, the green parts have a distinct aroma. Overall, Negi has a robust garlic-like flavor, eliminating bad odors from raw fish and meat. 

Negi is suitable for raw and cooked use, such as sauteing, grilling, roasting, etc. As a fresh ingredient, it can be chopped and mixed with omelets, soups, and salads. Negi can also be delicious when added to pizza, pork chops, grilled poultry, sashimi, etc.

Another name for Negi is Welsh onion.

8. Shiso

Shiso is perhaps the most popular herb in Japan. What’s more, it’s known to American food enthusiasts as a sushi garnish.

The ornamental green plant is in the mint group and adds flavor to many Japanese dishes.

Known as “perilla leaf” in English, the herb has a flavor similar to cinnamon with some notes of cloves. Shiso comes in two varieties of color: green and reddish-purple.

The former has a minty, bitter, lemony flavor with a slightly sweet finish. On the other hand, the latter has a milder flavor. 

Traditionally, this Japanese herb is cut into pieces and used in salads. It is also a delicious flavoring for foods like fried rice or ramen.

Besides this, shiso has many cooking applications in Japanese cuisine. Such recipes include sweet potato and harissa soup, Tsukane, and vegetable shiso tempura rolls. 


As you can see, there are many Japanese spices for you to try out at home so that you can recreate your favorite Japanese meals. With these Japanese spices, you will have little piece of Japan right in your kitchen.

If you are looking for something to try out immediately, don’t miss out on our favorite spices of Japan. Now that you know the most popular ones, their uses, and where to find them, you can enjoy Japanese recipes from the comfort of your own home.

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