Perilla: Shiso vs Oba leaves

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“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 is used as an accent in dishes.

Shiso (シソ)


The plant Shiso comes in many 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.

Akajiso not only comes in Umeboshi plums, Furikake rice seasoning, and Shichimi Togarashi spice but is also used as a coloring for Beni Shoga pickled ginger. 

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

Oba (大葉)


Aojiso or green Shiso leaves actually have another name of “Oba (大葉)” which literally means “big leaf”. 

But big leaves of Akajiso or red Shiso are not called Oba. Only Aojiso leaves that have been picked to use as food are admitted 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.

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