Hon Wasabi vs Nama Wasabi: What is the Difference?

Known as an essential condiment for Sushi and Sashimi, Wasabi is a green paste prepared by grating the root of Japanese horseradish, which comes in various varieties in Japan.

Among those, “Hon Wasabi (本わさび)” and “Nama Wasabi (生わさび)” are common types available mainly in tubes in most supermarkets.

Hon Wasabi vs. Nama Wasabi

S&B Hon-Nama Hon Wasabi Tube

But until now, I didn’t know how Hon Wasabi and Nama Wasabi differ.

So today, I did research about that, and here, let me share the result with you that was gotten from some online resources.

Hon Wasabi (本わさび)

First, in the name of Hon Wasabi, “Hon (本)” is used to indicate that the Wasabi paste contains a large proportion of Japanese horseradish.

In this case, the word “Hon (本)” derives from “Honrai (本来)” meaning “native” in Japanese.

In modern times, some Wasabi products contain a substantial proportion of Western horseradish.

Unlike Hon Wasabi, those are colored with green color, and food additives are added.

Nama Wasabi (生わさび)

On the other hand, in the name of Nama Wasabi, “Nama (生)” meaning “raw” is used to indicate that the Wasabi paste is made not from dried pulverized horseradish but with a fresh one.

This is because in the 1970s when Wasabi tubes began to be sold for the first time, the mainstream was “Neri Wasabi (練りわさび: kneaded wasabi)”.

Different from Nama Wasabi, Neri Wasabi is made by kneading “Kona Wasabi (粉わさび: powdered wasabi)” with water.


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.

1 Response

  1. Ian Bruce says:

    I have a very strong mustard allergy. The fake wasabi containing mustard can make me seriously ill!

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