Perilla: Shiso vs. Oba leaves

Shiso (シソ/紫蘇) is an annual plant that belongs to the genus Perilla in the family Lamiaceae, and probably because of that, it is referred to as perilla in English.

Shiso vs. Oba

The leaf is edible with a fresh, herby fragrance, and in Japanese food culture, it serves as an accent in dishes.

Shiso (シソ)


The plant Shiso comes in various varieties, but they are broadly classified into two groups based on the color of the leaf.

One is Akajiso (赤ジソ) with red leaves, while the other is Aojiso (青ジソ) with green leaves.

As for usage, in addition to being used in Umeboshi, Furikake, and Shichimi Togarashi, Akajiso can also be a coloring for Beni Shoga pickled ginger. 

Meanwhile, Aojiso is a potherb typically used in Tempura and Oba Miso and prepared for Sashimi as a garnish.

Oba (大葉)


Aojiso or green Shiso leaves have another name Oba (大葉), which literally means big leaf in Japanese. 

But big leaves of Akajiso or red Shiso are not called Oba. Only the picked Aojiso leaves served as food are allowed to be called Oba.

(Reference Page: Wikipedia シソ )


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.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.