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List of Japanese Vegetables | 22 Healthy Veggies from Japan To Try!

list of japanese vegetables

Here’s a list of Japanese vegetables for you to try! Check it out! I’ve included pictures of Japanese vegetables so you can easily recognise these Japanese vegetables next time you go to Japanese supermarket! 

The Japanese place a very important role in vegetables as a part of their cuisine. We all know the importance of including vegetables as a part of a balanced diet. Vegetables are packed with nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and other essentials that are required for our well-being. 

For us, there are different ways of including vegetables in our dishes. We love pickled vegetables as well as vegetables that are cooked in broth. 

There are only a few vegetables that are native to Japan. Other vegetables that are a very important part of Japanese cuisine today came to Japan from different sources. 

Here is a guide to all the popular Japanese vegetables that you can try in different ways. This is not the complete list, so do not be surprised when you come across some other interesting and delicious vegetables.

List of Japanese Vegetables

Cabbage

We have all heard of and ate this versatile vegetable called cabbage. It is quite an inexpensive vegetable but it is packed with nutrition and flavor. This is one vegetable that you can use in several dishes. In Japan, cabbage is often sliced into thin strips and it is served in a variety of fry dishes. 

japanese-green-cabbage

The beauty of this vegetable is that it can be added to just about any dish from soups and stews to pan-fried meals and salads. When we talk about cabbage production in Japan, it is one of the top producers of this vegetable. Also, cabbage is one of the most bought vegetables by the Japanese. 

Related: List of Japanese Mushrooms

Hakusai 

Hakusai is also known as Chinese cabbage. It is one of the most popular types of cabbages in many parts of Asia. This type of cabbage is often pickled. In Korea, this is the type of cabbage that is used to make kimchi, which is a dish that is popular all over the world. 

Japanese-Hakusai-chinese-cabbage

In Japan, the Chinese cabbage is also pickled and the dish that is thus made is known as Hakusai no sokuseki zuke. This is a very mild and fresh Chinese cabbage that is also used for hot pot dishes.

Horenso 

Yet another popular leafy vegetable in Japan is Horenso or spinach. This is one of the most nutrient-rich and healthy vegetables that you can get. Apart from all the health benefits that spinach has, it also contains tons of Vitamins, Calcium, and Iron. 

japanese-spinach-Horenso

One of the most well-known dishes made using foreign so in Japan is horenso no goma-ae or spinach with sesame dressing. It is quite easy to make this dish at home. In fact, I make it quite often and believe me, everybody in my family loves it.

All you have to do is Blanche the spinach and then mix it with a sweet soya sauce and use sesame flavored dressing. You can also use Horenso as toppings for soups.

Komatsuna 

Komatsuna is another variant of spinach and is known as the Japanese mustard spinach. This is mostly grown and consumed in Japan, China, and Korea. Just as the name suggests, it is quite similar to regular spinach but it contains more nutrients and vitamins. 

japanese-spinach-Komatsuna

The taste is also somewhat different from regular spinach; the bitterness in the Japanese mustard spinach is lesser and it is also quite mild. This type of spinach can be eaten raw or as a part of salads. You can also boil it and serve it in soups and stews. I also like consuming komatsuna in another way and that is by pickling it.

Mizuna 

Mizuna-japanese-lettuce

Mizuna is a very popular leaf used in salads and it is known as Japanese mustard or spider mustard. The best combination that you can have with mizuna is the giant white radish that is extremely popular in Japan. Mixing these to give you a very fresh salad that is full of flavors. Mizuna can also be added to soups and hotpots. It can also be used as a garnish.

Daikon 

Daikon or the giant white radish is one of the most popular and the most bought vegetables in Japan. It is extremely versatile and can be eaten both raw and cooked. You can also grate the daikon and use it as a refreshing topping especially in oily dishes. 

japanese-Daikon-radish

Doing this balances the oiliness in food items like grilled fish and tempura. The best part that I love about this daikon is the spicy bottom half. 

However, if you are not a fan of spiciness, you can always cook it because that reduces the level of spiciness. In fact, cooking it makes it slightly on the sweeter side. You can also cut the daikon and use it raw in salads.

You can also pair it with Mizuna leaves to get a very refreshing and delicious taste. When cooking, you can boil the daikon in soups, stews, or hotpots.

If you visit any Japanese restaurant and order an Oden hotpot, you will notice that daikon is the most popular ingredient. It is also Japan’s favorite pickle. The pickled Daikon is known as takuan in Japanese.

Jagaimo 

Jagaimo-japanese-potatoes

Jagaimo or potato only became a part of the traditional Japanese cuisine recently. Potatoes are not native to Japan. It was brought into the country by Dutch traders from Indonesia. 

Potato cultivation in Japan only began at the end of the 19th century. Today, the region of Hokkaido is known to be one of the biggest producers of Jagaimo. There are several popular Japanese dishes that feature Jagaimo. 

One of the most common and popular dishes is nikujaga or meat and potato stew. This is a dish that combines beef vegetables and potatoes and it uses sweet soya sauce to add that flavor to it.

Satsumaimo 

Satoimo-japanese-taro-potatoes

Satsumaimo is a very popular winter vegetable in Japan. This vegetable is used to make both sweet as well as Savory dishes. In Japan, people love eating this vegetable as a snack by simply grilling and peeling it.

This snack is commonly known as Yakimo. We can also use a batter and deep fry Satsumaimo. Another popular way of eating this vegetable is by adding it to soups and stews or Japanese curry.

Satoimo 

Satoimo or taro root is a very popular vegetable in many parts of Asia. This is most commonly eaten in India, China, Korea, and Japan. It has a very slimy and sticky texture and has a high starch content. Satoimo is always cooked before eating.

Satoimo-japanese-taro-potatoes

This vegetable most commonly makes its appearance in boiled or stewed dishes. Japanese love adding Satoimo in miso soup, hotpot, Japanese curry, and even in deep-fried form.

Nagaimo 

Nagaimo is also known as yam. This is a very versatile vegetable that can be eaten in different ways. You can slice and grill it or you can also eat it raw.

If you want to eat it raw, you can grate it to form a sticky paste that is known as Tororo. You can use this sticky paste as toppings to your rice, soba, or udon noodles. You can also mix it with fish stock for some added flavor.

Renkon 

Renkon or Lotus root is very common in Japan. What is extremely attractive about the Lotus root is its pattern. You can use lotus root to make your dishes look visually very appealing. 

Renkon-japanese-vegetable

You cannot normally eat it raw but you can peel and boil it in water. The amount that you boil it decides its texture. It can be very crunchy or quite soft. Renkon is often used in tempura, boiled in soups, or used in stewed dishes. 

You can also make a salad and dress it with vinegar. The best way to cut Renkon is by slicing it because that is how you can see its attractive pattern.

Gobo 

Gobo-japanese-vegetable

Gobo, which is known as Burdock root,  is commonly consumed in Japan. The plant however exists all over the world. Burdock root is cut into pieces before it is sold so that it is more manageable. It is always cooked before eating and the most common way of consuming burdock root is by using it as toppings for soups.

Shoga

Shoga, or ginger, is something that many will not consider as a vegetable. In Japan, it is used as a very versatile vegetable. Shoga is more of a spice than a vegetable and is a winter delicacy. 

Shoga-japanese-vegetables

Shoga is used to add some heat to winter meals. It is also used in making fish dishes so that the fishy smell can be reduced. Also, for certain types of sushi and sashimi, ginger is grated and used alongside wasabi as a spice. 

Shoga is also ground and used as Tofu toppings. Ginger is also pickled and eaten as a delicacy in Japan.

Takenoko 

Takenoko is a bamboo shoot and it is the soft part of a young bamboo plant. It is one of the most delicious vegetables that you will find in Japan and in several other parts of Asia. The harvesting time of Takinoko is extremely important; if the plant is allowed to grow, it can become hard and green. 

Takenoko-japanese-vegetable

So, the best time to harvest this vegetable is just before the plant comes out of the soil. There are different ways of consuming Takenoko; you can steam, grill, deep-fried, or boil Takenoko in soups and stews.

Negi 

Negi-japanese-vegetable

Negi or leak or green onion is another popular vegetable in Japan that is used in several fried and boiled dishes; this vegetable is also used as toppings for many kinds of dishes. While Negi is considered to be just like the green onion, it has a slightly sweet taste. There are different varieties of Negi available in different regions of Japan. The most common ones are the Kanto variety and the Kansai variety.

Tomato 

Japanese-Tomato

Who does not know about tomatoes? In Japan, tomatoes are part of the Western dishes of the country. These are eaten raw in salads or are also used as a garnish.

While it is extremely popular, you will rarely find it in most Japanese dishes. The one Japanese dish where you will find tomatoes is in the Japanese bento boxes, but even here you will find the cherry tomatoes because of their size and color.

Kyuri 

Kyuri-japanese-vegetable

Kyuri is one of the most popular Japanese summer vegetables. The Japanese cucumbers Kyuri are thinner than the cucumbers we find in the west. These cucumbers are also eaten without peeling them. Kyuri is often eaten raw in salads. The Japanese also love their Kyuri in its pickled form.

Nasu 

The Japanese Nasu or egg plant, also known as aubergine, is different from the North American and European eggplants. Nasu is one of the most important and popular vegetables in Japanese cuisine. 

Nasu-vegetable-from-japan

You will see Nasu in a wide variety of Japanese dishes. One of the most typical dishes that you will find in Japan containing Nasu is known as Nasu dengaku. In this dish, Nasu is cut in half and then baked with a layer of miso paste. 

Nasu is not just a vegetable in Japan; it is also a very important part of Japanese folklore. It is considered to be good luck if you dream of Nasu in the new year. Also, parents are warned against giving Nasu to their daughter-in-law in the fall. It is believed that Nasu can deter a pregnancy and so it is not a very good gift to give to your daughter-in-law.

Piman 

Piman-japanese-vegetable

I love Piman or green pepper. As compared to the usual green pepper, Japanese Piman is usually smaller. They have thin skin and the taste is also quite sweet. I love deep-fried green pepper. The Japanese also love the Piman in its stir-fried form in Chinese-influenced dishes.

Shishito 

Shishito-japanese-vegetable

Shishito is a smaller variety of Japanese green pepper. They have a sweet and mild peppery taste, however, there are certain varieties that are quite spicy. You will most often find shishito deep-fried or roasted and topped with soya sauce. Bonito flakes are also used as a topping.

Kabocha 

kabocha-vegetable-japan

Kabocha or pumpkin is one of the most important Japanese vegetables during the cold winter months. It is rich in vitamin A and is traditionally eaten to celebrate the Winter solstice or the shortest day of the year. There are several ways of consuming kabocha and the most common one is as deep-fried tempura or boiled in sugar and soy sauce.

Okura

okura-japanese-vegetable

Okura is popular Japanese summer vegetable. Okura or the Western okra is a very versatile dish that can be consumed in different ways. It can be boiled or fried, eaten raw in salads, or served with soy sauce. The seeds of this vegetable have a sticky layer surrounding them. This helps to produce a consistency that is similar to that which is derived from yam.

What is the most popular Japanese vegetable?

As per the survey conducted by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the most popular Japanese vegetable is daikon or Japanese radish. The second is onions while the cabbage ranked third. 

Daikon is usually a part of almost every Japanese need. There are several ways in which daikon may be served. One of the most popular ways of consuming daikon is in its raw form. This way you can fully enjoy the tangy and sharp taste of this vegetable. There is also a slight spiciness to it that appeals to the mass. 

The Japanese also love to use grated daikon as a topping; this adds a very refreshing touch to food. Apart from these ways, there are several different ways in which daikon is used in Japanese meals.

Are you ready to enjoy a delicious and balanced diet with these vegetables?

Also read

  1. Best Japanese Cookbooks
  2. Why Japanese Food is Healthy
  3. Kid-friendly Japanese Food
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