Tsukemono vs Oshinko vs Asazuke: What is the Difference?

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 Japanese pickles in general?

Meaning: Tsukemono vs Oshinko vs Asazuke

Actually, the Japanese word, “Tsukemono (漬物)” refers to Japanese pickles in general. You may know this. Then, have you ever heard that, in addition to Tsukemono, “Oshinko (お新香)” is another word for Japanese pickles?

In recent years, Oshinko sometimes has the same meaning as Tsukemono, but traditionally, Oshinko is somewhat different in meaning from Tsukemono.

Tsukemono (漬物)

Takuan (沢庵)Takuan

“Tsukemono (漬物)” is the generic term for Japanese pickles and literally means “pickled things”. Actually, Oshinko is a genre included in Tsukemono.

Japanese pickles or Tsukemono are made of various food materials such as vegetables and seafood like fish and fish roe, which are pickled in seasonings like salt, soy sauce, sugar, vinegar, Sake lees, and the like.

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

By the way, as for the former type, “Takuan (沢庵)” is the quintessential fermented Tsukemono.

Oshinko (お新香), or Asazuke (浅漬け)

Oshinko or Asazuke Pickles

Oshinko is also known as “Asazuke (浅漬け)” and originally refers to the Japanese vegetable pickles made in a short time without fermenting ingredients.

The 2 words, “Oshinko (お新香)” and “Asazuke (浅漬け)” literally mean “fresh aroma” and “lightly pickled (stuff)” respectively, and typical vegetables prepared for Oshinko, or Asazuke, include cucumber, Daikon radish, and eggplant.

Incidentally, as I mentioned above, in recent years, some Japanese use the word “Oshinko” as a classy way to call Tsukemono.

(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.

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