Yagenbori: Shichimi Togarashi 7 Spice Blend from Asakusa

When I think of a spice condiment that represents Japan, what comes to my mind right away is Shichimi Togarashi (七味唐辛子).

The Japanese chili pepper mix is an essential condiment for udon and soba noodle soups, and you may have tried it before.

It is the traditional Japanese seven-spice blend of ground red chili pepper and six other aromatic spices.

Yagenbori: The Birthplace of Shichimi Togarashi

As for the origin, a druggist that lived in Edo (present-day Tokyo), named Nakajima Tokuuemon (中島徳右衛門), first invented Shichimi Togarashi in 1626.

The originator of Shichimi Togarashi started a business in 1625, and the following year, he created the spice mix based on the knowledge of herbal medicines. 

Now, his spice shop, Yagenbori (やげん堀) (Google Map), is located in Asakusa, Tokyo,

and its seven-spice blend has become one of Japan’s 3 Major Shichimi Togarashi, together with Yawataya Isogoro (八幡屋礒五郎) in Nagano and Shichimiya Honpo (七味屋本舗) in Kyoto.

The birthplace of Shichimi Togarashi is an area called Yagenbori (薬研堀), and the spice blend has another name Yagenbori.

Yagenbori Shichimi Togarashi

Yagenbori Shichimi Togarashi Spice Mix

Today, I came across a Yagenbori Shichimi Togarashi at a newly opened supermarket in my city. I love Shichimi, so I picked it up, together with its refill.

Yagenbori Shichimi Togarashi Spice Mix

This spice blend looks like dark orange but is not that spicy, and it has a good harmony between spiciness and its fragrant aromas.

Since I like eating miso soup with Shichimi Togarashi, I did that this night and enjoyed it!

7 Ingredients (Spices)

As I mentioned above, the first ingredient of Shichimi is a ground red chili pepper, while the composition of the other six spices differs by the maker.

As for this one, based on the ingredient list on the package of the refill, it consists of

  1. Red chili pepper
  2. Roasted red chili pepper
  3. Black sesame seeds
  4. Chinpi (dried mandarin orange peel)
  5. Hemp seeds
  6. Poppy seeds
  7. Aosa seaweed

Yagenbori vs. Yawataya Isogoro Shichimi

I also have a Yawataya Isogoro (八幡屋磯五郎) Shichimi on hand, which, as I wrote above, is also one of Japan’s 3 Major Shichimi Togarashi.

As you can see in the photo above, compared to the Yawataya Shichimi, this one from Yagengori has a more blackish hue from black sesame seeds.

Incidentally, the seven ingredients (spices) in the Yawataya Isogoro’s spice mix are

  1. Red chili pepper
  2. Ginger
  3. Sansho pepper
  4. Shiso (perilla)
  5. Sesame seeds
  6. Chinpi
  7. Hemp seeds

Taste-wise, the Yawataya Shichimi is slightly hotter than the one from Yagenbori and has a pronounced ginger note not seen in other Shichimi.

(Reference Page: Wikipedia やげん堀 )

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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