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 those Japanese noodle dishes. In fact, if you have a chance to go to a Soba or Udon restaurant in Japan, you will surely find it placed on the table.

Shichimi Togarashi is a common Japanese condiment consisting of 7 different kinds of aromatic spices. Its first ingredient is ground red chili pepper, while the other 6 spices vary depending on the producer and the specialty shop.bf3200893c254a9febbcdb4bd1637098_s
In Japan, most households have at least one small canned or bottled Shichimi Togarashi and we commonly use the 7 spice blend in various ways as I wrote about it in the past article before. In general, the Japanese spice mix is used to add a little bit spicy, flavorful touch to food.

Shichimi Togarashi comes in many varieties as the major producers, like S&B and House, and the specialty shops 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 unique Shichimi Togarashi blended by the specialized shops, “Kuro Shichimi (黒七味)” is especially famous as the 7 spice blend that Kyoto boasts.


The Kosen specialty shop founded in Kyoto in 1704, “Hararyokaku (原了郭)” is considered the birthplace of Kuro Shichimi. “Kosen (香煎)” is a traditional Japanese food made by blending ground parched rice and 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 wrote above, Shichimi Togarashi spice mixes available at grocery stores 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 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 contaied in its Kuro Shichimi are as follows.

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


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.

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

As with regular Shichimi Togarashi, the Kyoto’s famous spice mix works 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-pot dishes.

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


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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