Translated by Saya Terai
Satisfy Your Palate With Japanese Spices At Yagenbori's Flagship Store
Written by Shingo Nagata
Yagenbori specializes in Japanese spices, specifically shichimi togarashi ("seven-flavor chili pepper"). While typically sprinkled on soba or udon noodles, this versatile seasoning adds a zingy twist to ramen, grilled meat, and even plain pasta. Satisfy your need for heat at this centuries-old shop.
Is Wasabi the Only Japanese Spice?
When you think of Japanese spices, what comes to mind? Perhaps wasabi, chili peppers, and ginger? Aside from these seasonings, there's a variety of everyday spices in Japanese cuisine to explore. Some flavorings you may well be hearing for the first time.
One of the signature Japanese spice blends is shichimi togarashi, which literally means "seven-flavored red pepper." The seven ingredients generally contain powdered chili pepper, poppy seeds, sansho peppers, and sesame seeds. In fact, this fragrant seasoning was inspired by traditional herbal medicine in the Edo Period. Without question, the shichimi seven-spice blend is one of the quintessential Japanese spices to date.
Yagenbori: Long-Standing Shop Where Shichimi Pepper Originated
The store where shichimi pepper supposedly originated is Yagenbori. With its eye-catching tiled roof, the main store can easily be spotted on Shin-Nakamise Street in Asakusa.
A variety of containers packed with the seven-spice blend is lined up inside the store.
There are even packages decorated with the iconic red lanterns at Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate)!
The easiest way to purchase shichimi peppers is by choosing one of the pre-filled containers pictured above. However, it's recommended to customize your own blend to suit your spiciness preference. By combining the available seasonings, you'll create an original blend at the store.
The distinct fragrance that arises during the blending process has not changed for 400 years. Depending on the proportion of each spice, the spiciness and flavor will differ. In other words, you'll customize a one-of-a-kind shichimi pepper blend for your distinct palate.
Yagenbori has two stores in Asakusa. In addition to the flagship shop on Shin-Nakamise Street, the other location is on Metro-dori street. In fact, you can hear the sound of spices being blended while heading to the Metro-dori store.
This is the source of the sound!
Follow the sound of the mechanical mortar to find the store.
Shichimi pepper is not only an everyday condiment in Japan. Nowadays, it has gained global popularity as a versatile seasoning for udon noodles, yakitori, among other dishes. Why not bring home a souvenir of traditional Japanese spices from its place of origin?