Hon Wasabi vs Nama Wasabi: What is the Difference?

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

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

The Difference: Hon Wasabi vs Nama Wasabi

S&B Hon-Nama Wasabi Tube

But until now I didn’t know the difference between Hon Wasabi and Nama Wasabi, so I did some research about that, and today I will share the result that was gotten from some online resources.

Hon Wasabi (本わさび)

In the name Hon Wasabi, “Hon (本)” is used to indicate that the green paste contains a large proportion of Japanese horseradish. By the way, I’d say in this case the word “Hon (本)” stands for “Honrai (本来)” meaning “native” in Japanese.

This is because some modern Wasabi products contain a substantial proportion of Western horseradish and are colored with green color and food additives are added.

Nama Wasabi (生わさび)

In the name Nama Wasabi, “Nama (生)” is used to indicate that the green paste is made not from dried pulverized horseradish but from a fresh one.

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

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