Meaning: Tsukemono vs Oshinko vs Asazuke

When it comes to Japanese pickles, I think Umeboshi plums are probably the most famous in overseas countries.

“Umeboshi (梅干し)” is referred to as pickled Ume plums or salted Ume plums in English-speaking countries, but do you know what we call pickles in general?

Tsukemono vs. Oshinko vs. Asazuke

Actually, the word Tsukemono (漬物)” refers to Japanese pickles in general. You may know this. But have you ever heard that “Oshinko (お新香)” is a synonym of Tsukemono?

In recent years, Oshinko sometimes has the same meaning as Tsukemono, though they are traditionally different in some ways.

Tsukemono (漬物)

Takuan (沢庵)Tsukemono Takuan

“Tsukemono (漬物)”, literally meaning “pickled thing”, is the generic term for Japanese pickles, while Oshinko is originally a sub-category of Tsukemono.

Japanese pickles or Tsukemono are made of various ingredients such as vegetables and seafood like fish and fish roe, which are pickled with seasonings such as salt, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, and sake lees.

Although many Japanese pickles, including “Takuan (沢庵)“, are made by fermenting foods, some types in Tsukemono are produced in a short period of time and don’t involve the fermentation process.

Oshinko (お新香) or Asazuke (浅漬け)

Oshinko or Asazuke Pickles

Oshinko is the word that originally refers to Japanese vegetable pickles made in a short time without fermenting ingredients and has the same meaning as “Asazuke (浅漬け)”.

But as mentioned above, in recent years, some people have been using the word to mean Tsukemono.

Typical vegetables prepared for Asazuke or Oshinko are cucumber, Daikon radish, and eggplant, which are nowadays often pickled in a store-bought pickling solution.

As Oshinko and Asazuke have a meaning of “fresh aroma” and “lightly pickled” respectively, the pickles retain the fresh taste and color of the vegetable.

(Reference Pages: Wikipedia 漬物, 浅漬け )


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.

2 Responses

  1. Trudie Heiman says:

    Thanks for detailing the differences of these pickles! I am hoping to make asazuke pickles but can not find the pickling brine in Canada. Is this brine a type of amino acid?

    • Tomo says:

      Thank you for commenting!
      I googled it with 浅漬けの素 作り方 (Asazuke-base Making) and found this article on top. For your reference, the Asazuke pickling solution recipe uses
      ・50 – 100 cc water
      ・1 tbsp (15 ml) Vinegar
      ・1/2 tbsp sugar
      ・1 tsp (5 ml) soy sauce
      ・1 – 1 1/2 tsp salt
      ・1 tsp Dashi powder
      ・2 grams Katsuobushi bonito flakes
      ・(Optional) Some sliced red chili peppers
      You just mix it all up.

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