Shun and Vegetables


Specialities of the Season (shun no mono)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Topic
***** Category: Humanity


SHUN 旬 (しゅん) season, the best season for fresh food

shun no mono, 旬の物 specialities of the season, seasonal food
shun no aji, 旬の味 taste of the season
shun no mikaku 旬の味覚 seasonal delicacies

The most important part of washoku. It dates back to the time when no refrigerators were available.
shun is also the time when a vegetable (or something else) is "at its best" as a kigo for haiku, for example the ants in summer.

Most of the ingredients for cooking are also kigo.
See the World Kigo Database

CLICK for more photos CLICK for many more photos


Vegetables from a hothouse are found in the stores at any time of the year, they are never SHUN.

Vegetables of the season are full of the energy of the season, full of nutrition and vitamines and best for the human health. Vegetables produced on the free land have a lot more energy than those from the greenhouses.

In spring, the first sun givee new energy to the plants. Buds and first leaves of plants are eaten most often, like fuki no too or tara no me. (see mori no megumi)

In summer the energy circle is at it's hight. Most plants produce fruits and vegetables to eat, like cucumbers, eggplants or tomatoes.

In autumn, many grains and fruit or nuts from trees are harvested, like rice or persimmons. Natural energy tends to provide for the next generation already.

In winter, natural energy takes a rest. Now most of the roots of vegetables are eaten, like radish and turnips. They have a lot of fibers and are a great addition to the winterly nabe hodgepodge dishes.

Within each season, the FIRST hatsumono 初物 of something was also a great pleasure for the gourmets of Edo.
Ships would race to carry the first catch of bonitos, hatsugatsuo, hatsu gatsuo, to fetch a good price or bring it as a special present to the Shogun of Edo.
First rice or first tea of the season are also well known specialities.

Check the main
Washoku Saijiki
for more details about dishes with these seasonal ingredients.


Vegetables for Spring Cooking
asparagus, endomame beans, jagaimo potatoes, kyabetsu cabbage, nanohana mustard flowers, retasu lettuce and salads, tamanegi onions, udo Japanese spikenard and many more.

Vegetables for Summer Cooking
CLICK for more summer vegetableskyuuri cucumbers, mame-rui all kinds of beans, nasu eggplants, serori cellery, shishitoo hot peppers, shooga ginger, tomato, toomorokoshi corn, zucchini.
hyakka 万葉(ひゃっか)"onethousand leaves" manba, takana from Kagawa

Vegetables for Autumn Cooking
kabu turnips, kabocha pumpkin, kinoko ki no ko mushrooms, ninjin carrots, rakkasei peanuts, piiman paprica, satoimo sato-imo yam, satsumaimo satsuma-imo sweet potatoes, shiitake mushrooms, tororo-imo yamspotatoes and many other mushrooms.

Vegetables for Winter Cooking
CLICK for more photos daikon radish, hakusai Chinese cabbage, hoorenso spinach, karifurawaa cauliflower and broccoli, komatsuna, kyoosai Kyoto vegetables, naganegi leek, renkon lotus roots, shungiku garland chrysanthemums, yamaimo yama-imo yam and others.


YAM ... Dioscorea
is a genus of over 600 species of flowering plants in the family Dioscoreaceae, native throughout the tropical and warm temperate regions of the world. The vast majority of the species are tropical, with only a few species extending into temperate climates.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

yamaimo, yama imo, yama-imo 山芋
Dioscorea japonica
Japanese yam
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
yama no imo ヤマノイモ(山の芋)"root from the mountain"
There used to be about 13 different wild ones in the mountains of Japan.
They came to Japan via China as a cultivated plant. There are no wild ones.

They are the most popular, grown all year as "ichinen imo" 一年芋.
Also called "tokkuri imo" トックリイモ(徳利芋).
Jinenjo 自然薯(学名: Dioscorea japonica Thunb.)
In Okayama prefecture, Kibi Chuo Town, mochi are prepared with these roots.

Some special forms of yamaimo:
gingko leaf root, ichoo imo イチョウイモ(銀杏芋)because of the form.

These are also called "hands folded in Buddhist prayer" busshoo imo ブッショウイモ(仏掌芋).

In the Kanto area, they are called "Yamato imo" ヤマトイモ(大和芋).
Varieties are "tsukuneimo" ツクネイモ(つくね芋), "Tanba no imo" 丹波山の芋, Iseimo 伊勢芋.

nagaimo... 長芋(Dioscorea batatas Decne)

Yamaimo are used to make the slimy tororo, they are therefore also called
tororoimo, tororo imo とろろ芋、トロロ芋.
(Dioscorea opposita)

. Tororo jiru とろろ汁 (とろろじる)grated yam with miso bean paste soup  
and other autumn dishes

tokoro ところ【野老】 Japanese yam
Dioscorea tokoro
. . . CLICK here for Photos !
The roots of this plant are only edible after getting rid of the bitterness. It is eaten in some areas by the poor farmers.

more KIGO with yama-imo, Japanese YAM

propagule 零余子 (むかご) mukago
of the yam

Jamswurzel, Yamswurzel

Matsuo Basho and haiku about TOKORO yam

. Yam dreaming . Australia  


The sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas)
has traditionally been referred to as a "yam" in parts of the southern United States and Canada even though it is not part of the Dioscoreaceae family.
The word yam comes from Portuguese inhame or Spanish ñame, which both ultimately derive from the Wolof word nyam, meaning "to sample" or "taste"; in other African languages it can also mean "to eat", e.g. yamyam and nyama in Hausa.
The majority of the vegetable is composed of a much softer substance known as the "meat". This substance ranges in color from white or yellow to purple or pink in ripe yams.
Konnyaku belongs here too.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


satoimo, sato imo 里芋 taro

Colocasia esculenta
taro imo タロ芋

In German we have
Taro-Kartoffel sato-imo
Jamswurzel (Duden spelling), Yamswurzel, yama-imo
Süßkartoffel ist Satsumaimo.


the name derived from the Portugese, which introduced this vegetagle from Cambodia (カンボジア kambojia ... kaboja). The Chinese characters imply "a gourd that came from the south (Nagasaki)" 南瓜.

kabocha 南瓜 (かぼちゃ) pumpkin, squash


Cauliflower and Broccoli
Cauliflower, Brassica oleracea var. botrytis
Japanese name for cauliflower is hanayasai ハナヤサイ(花椰菜) flower vegetable or hanakanran ハナカンラン(花甘藍)flower cabbage, literally the German "Blumen Kohl". Or
花梛菜(はなはぼたん)hana habotan "Blumen-Pfingstrose" flower-peony. The second Chinese character 梛 is NAGI, Podocarpus nagi, Japanische Steineibe.

Broccoli, Brassica oleracea var. italica
Japanese name for broccoli: midori hanayasai ミドリハナヤサイ(緑花野菜)
green flower vegetable or flower vegetable hanayassai メハナヤサイ(芽花野菜)
Grown in Yamaguchi prefecture, a mix between broccoli and the chinese vegetable saishin 薄葉細辛Asiasarum sieboldii is called hanakkori はなっこりー and is sold since 2003.
A mixture of broccoli and cauliflower is called romanesuko ( ロマネスコromanesque) in Europe, but in Japan it is karikkorii カリッコリー.
Main growing areas are Saitama, Aichi, Hokkaido.

Both vegetables came to Jaan after the Meiji restauration in 1868, not only as a vegetable but as a flower to enjoy in the garden. After WWII it became more widespread as food in Japan, together with a wider influnece of Western food.

burokkori ブロッコリ broccoli
komohcihana yasai 子持花椰菜(こもちはなやさい)"vegetable with a flower that has children"
kigo for all winter

Blumenkohl und Brokkoli


WKD : Radish (daikon) Rettich  
(Raphanus sativus L.)

nezumi daikon ねずみだいこん/ ねずみ大根 "rat radish, mouse radish"
from Shimabara. It has a very strong taste. They are quite small and thick.
Similar to Momoyama daikon.
Since 1695, this radish was mentioned as grown by farmers in a district called NEZUMI, Rat in Shinshuu and eaten with buckwheat noodles. 信州埴科郡坂城町中之条の鼠地区
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

hatsuka daikon 二十日大根 ( はつかだいこん) "20 days old radish"
a fast-growing round and small radish. Comes in the colors red, yellow, purple and white. Originally from Europa, indroduced to Japan in the Meiji period. also called
radisshu ラディッシュ
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Shinshu-ji-daikon, Maesaka-daikon, Oyadakarami-daikon, Akaguchi-daikon, Daimon-daikon, Tatara-daikon, Togakusi-daikon, Wattera-daiokn わってら大根, Haibara-daikon, Maki-daikon, Kirehamatumoto-ji-daikon and more varieties.

Ueno-daikon 上野大根
Edo Yasai, Edo dentoo yasai 江戸伝統野菜
Traditional vegetables of Edo

Dentoo yasai 伝統野菜 Traditional Japanese Vegetables


More vegetable kigo for All Winter

hakusai 白菜 (はくさい) chinese cabbage
ninjin 人参 (にんじん) carrots

early winter
kanchiku no ko 寒竹の子 (かんちくのこ)
babmoo shoots in the cold
... 寒筍(かんたけのこ)



shishitoo ししとう【獅子唐】
small sweet green pepper

shishitoogarashi 獅子唐辛子
best in summer
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Fushimi toogarashi 伏見トウガラシ
Manganji toogarashi 万願寺トウガラシ
from Kyoto、both are rather sweet

taka no tsume 鷹の爪 "tallon of a hawk"
Evodiopanax innovans
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Togarashi 唐辛子 red hot pepper


kinpira キンピラ simmered root vegetables

Worldwide use

jahreszeitliche Spezialitäten
Zutaten aus der Jahreszeit

Things found on the way


yawashiro kaze fuite karei no shun to naru

wind blows
over the rice seeldings ...
season for flounders

Ninomiya Miyo 二宮美代


ninjin o narabete okeba wakaru nari

when I arrange
the carrots side by side
I understand

Tokita Tomoya 鴇田智哉 (1969 - )


yamabie no donzoku kusuri gui no shun

in the middle of
cold winter mountains ...
season for medicinal food

Fujita Minoru 藤田美乗

source : 俳句例句データベース Japanese haiku about SHUN

kusurigui, "eating medicine" kigo for all winter

Related words
kulinarisch Augenschmauß

Daikon ... Radishes used in Temple Ceremonies

Kyooyasai, kyoyasai, kyosai 京野菜 / 京菜 Vegetables from Kyoto.
Gemüse aus Kyoto, Kyoto-Gemüse

. Takana 高菜 mustard greens .

***** WASHOKU :
YASAI . Vegetable Saijiki


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