Taste of Japan: Yawataya Isogoro

September 21, 2023


Yawataya Isogoro's shichimi is known as one of the 3 biggest and oldest shichimi in Japan. Shichimi is commonly known for udon and tempura etc, but they opened a cafe in Japan serving some deserts using shichimi spice! Their shichimi is not just for Japanese food, their shichimi is also loved by our Michelin stared restaurant chefs in England too. 

Taste of Japan: Yawataya Isogoro | SushiSushi

History of Yawataya Isogoro

The Yawataya Isogoro Company had its origins in the mid-18th century. At that time, the northwest part of Nagano city, known as "Nishiyama", was famous for the production of hemp and Japanese paper. Merchants carried these products to Edo (present-day Tokyo) and to most other regions of Japan.
On their journeys throughout the country, the merchants bought food and daily necessities, and brought them back to sell in the environs of Zenkoji Temple as a side job. Some of the goods brought back by the merchants included shichimi togarashi.

One such merchant was Kan'emon, the founder of the Yawataya Isogoro Company. He began selling shichimi togarashi in the grounds of Zenkoji Temple in 1736.

What is special about them?

The ingredients used to make shichimi differ from area to area. The ingredients used by Yawataya Isogoro include medium strength chili peppers, spicy Japanese peppers called sansho (sichuan peppers), ginger, richly flavoured hemp seed, black sesame, dried orange peel and perilla. Their shichimi has a well-balanced spicy taste and great aroma. Also, all the ingredients that are used to make their shichimi are all from Japan.

Taste of Japan: Yawataya Isogoro | SushiSushiPhoto credit: Yawataya Isogoro

Shichimi Togarashi: Flavour of Shinshu

The Nishiyama area was perfect for the production of six of the ingredients needed to make shichimi, except for dried mandarin orange peel. Nishiyama was a famous hemp-producing area, so hemp seeds were easily available. Also, Sichuan pepper grew naturally in the surrounding mountains. Local farmers were easily able to grow the remaining ingredients, namely chilli pepper, black sesame, ginger and perilla.

Since dried products kept longer, the last ingredient, dried mandarin orange peel, could be collected and carried from Kamigata (the modern-day Kansai area). This way, Yawataya Isogoro was able to create shichimi togarashi with a distinctive flavour reminiscent of the mountainous region of Shinshu.

Today they sell many kinds of flavoured shichimi to sansho, other spices. They are popular and sell out quickly! Make sure you get them before they are gone!

Shichimi Togarashi

 Garam Masala Shichimi

Yuzu Shichimi Togarashi
Ume shichimi sesame
Ramen Shichimi



Also in Masterclass

Taste of Japan: Tobaya
Taste of Japan: Tobaya

November 23, 2023 0 Comments

Tobaya is a Japanese vinegar producer that has been in business for over 300 years. They use traditional methods to produce their vinegars, using only the highest quality ingredients and carefully controlling the fermentation process to ensure the best flavour and quality.

View full article →

Chef Focus: Luke French, Jöro Sheffield
Chef Focus: Luke French, Jöro Sheffield

November 20, 2023 0 Comments

We caught up with our good mate Luke French from Jöro Sheffield this week for a quick chat.

View full article →

Chef Focus: Charlie Taylor, Aulis London
Chef Focus: Charlie Taylor, Aulis London

November 20, 2023 0 Comments

We caught up with Charlie Taylor, Head chef of London’s Aulis by Simon Rogan. Charlie was previously at places such as The Ledbury and Kinobu in Kyoto, Japan. We tried to find out how Japanese flavours fit into his life and cooking.

View full article →