Kuro Shichimi: Kyoto’s Famous 7 Spice Blend with Sansho

When I eat Udon and Soba, I definitely sprinkle “Shichimi Togarashi (七味唐辛子)” over the Japanese noodle dishes. In fact, if you have a chance to go to a Soba or Udon restaurant in Japan, you will surely find a can of it on the table.

For the unfamiliar, Shichimi Togarashi is a traditional Japanese condiment consisting of 7 different varieties of aromatic spices. Its first ingredient is ground red chili pepper, while the other 6 spices vary depending on the producer or the specialty shop.

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In Japan, most households have at least one small canned or bottled Shichimi Togarashi and we commonly use the spice mix in various ways as I wrote in the past article. In general, the Japanese spice blend is used to add a little spicy, flavorful touch to some food.

Shichimi Togarashi comes in many varieties as the major producers, like S&B and House, and the specialty shops that can be found in various places in the country have their own unique Shichimi Togarashi.

Kuro Shichimi (黒七味)

If I give a representative example of such one-of-a-kind Shichimi Togarashi blended by the specialized shops, “Kuro Shichimi (黒七味)” is famous as the 7 spice blend that Kyoto boasts.

Birthplace

The Kosen specialty shop founded in Kyoto in 1704, “Hararyokaku (原了郭)” is considered the birthplace of Kuro Shichimi. By the way, “Kosen (香煎)” is a traditional Japanese food made by blending ground parched rice with various spices like Shiso (perilla) and Sansho.

Shop Information: Hararyokaku (原了郭)

originalImage: tabelog.com

  • Address: 267 Gionmachi-Kitagawa, Higashiyama-Ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Pref. (MAP)
  • Open: 10:00 am to 18:00 pm
  • Open throughout the year (except for January 1st and 2nd)

7 Ingredients (Spices) 

Shichimi Togarashi

As I mentioned above, Shichimi Togarashi spice mixes available at supermarkets and groceries in Japan generally consist of ground red chili pepper and other six aromatic spices that slightly differ by the manufacturers.

For reference, here are the ingredients or spices typically used to make regular Shichimi Togarashi with a red or orange color.

  • Red Chili Pepper
  • Black Sesame Seeds
  • Sansho Pepper
  • Ginger
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Green Nori Seaweed
  • Orange Peel
  • Shiso (Perilla) Leaves
  • Poppy Seeds

Kuro Shichimi by HararyokakuImage: wakabagenji.cocolog-nifty.com

On the other hand, according to the official website of Hararyokaku, the spices contained in their Kuro Shichimi are as follows.

  • White Sesame Seeds
  • Red Chili Pepper
  • Sansho Pepper
  • Green Nori Seaweed
  • Poppy Seeds
  • Black Sesame Seeds
  • Hemp Seeds

Features and Uses

As the word “Kuro (黒)” means “Black” in Japanese, the origin of the name of Kuro Shichimi derives from the black color of the spice.

Since Kuro Shichimi is especially characterized by the aromatic scent and pronounced flavor of Sansho pepper, it is often said that the Black Shichimi Togarashi is a condiment for adults.

As for the use, as with ordinary Shichimi Togarashi that can be bought in grocery stores and online, Kuro Shichimi goes well with a wide variety of foods, such as Miso soup, pickles, cold Tofu, Udon and Soba, Sukiyaki, Yakisoba noodles, Mapo Tofu, and Nabemono hot-pots.

Conclusion

If you have a plan to go on a sightseeing trip to Kyoto, why not make a visit to the birthplace of Kuro Shichimi, Hararyokaku? It is definitely one of the ideal spots for your souvenirs of Kyoto.

Tomo

Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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