Yagenbori : Asakusa’s Famous Shichimi Togarashi Spice Shop
When I think of the spice condiment that represents Japan, what pops into my head right away is “Shichimi Togarashi (七味唐辛子)”.
As the Japanese spice is commonly used as a condiment for Udon and Soba noodle soups, you may have tried it.
Yes, Shichimi Togarashi is the Japanese seven spice blend that consists of ground red chili pepper and six other aromatic spices.
Yagenbori : The Birthplace of Shichimi Togarashi
When it comes to the origin of Shichimi Togarashi, the 7 spice blend was first invented in 1626 by a druggist that lived in Edo (present-day Tokyo), named “Nakajima Tokuuemon (中島徳右衛門)”.
It is said that, based on the knowledge of herbal medicines, he created it. The originator of Shichimi Togarashi started a business in 1625 and he invented the 7 spice blend the next year.
Now his spice shop, “Yagenbori (やげん堀) (Google Map)” is located in Asakusa, Tokyo, and its 7 spice blend is famous as one of Japan’s 3 Best Shichimi Togarashi, together with those of “Yawataya Isogoro (八幡屋礒五郎)” in Nagano and “Shichimiya Honpo (七味屋本舗)” in Kyoto.
Since Shichimi Togarashi has its roots in the spice blend of Yagenbori, Shichimi Togarashi is also called Yagenbori.
I got a Yagenbori Shichimi Togarashi Spice Mix
Actually, today I came across a Shichimi Togarashi spice mix from Yagenbori by accident at a newly opened supermarket in my city, so I picked up the seven spice blend and its refill.
This spice mix has a dark orange color and is not that spicy, and features an excellent harmony between spicy favors and fragrant aromas.
As I like eating Miso soup with Shichimi Togarashi, I sprinkled this spice condiment over the soup and enjoyed it.
According to the ingredient list on the package of the refill, this spice mix consists of,
- Red chili pepper
- Roasted red chili pepper
- Black sesame seeds
- Dried Satsuma mandarin orange peel
- Hemp seeds
- Poppy seeds
- Dried sea lettuce
The Difference between Yagenbori and Yawataya Isogoro Shichimi Togarahi Spice Mixes
I also have a seven spice blend from “Yawataya Isogoro (八幡屋磯五郎)” at home, which, as I wrote above, is also famous as one of Japan’s 3 Best Shichimi Togarashi.
As you can see in the photo above, compared to the Yawataya spice, the Yagenbori spice has a blackish color that comes from black sesame seeds and so on.
By the way, this Yawataya Isogoro’s spice mix is made up of the following 7 spices,
- Red chili pepper,
- Sansho pepper
- Shiso (Perilla)
- Sesame seeds
- Dried citrus peel
- Hemp seeds.
From the difference in ingredients from the Yagenbori spice mix, the Nagano’s famous Shichimi Togarashi is characterized by its pronounced ginger flavor and relatively strong spiciness.