Myoga Japanese Ginger


Japanese ginger (myooga)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Various, see below
***** Category: Plant


kigo for late spring

myoogatake (みょうがたけ) 茗荷竹 "myoga bamboo"
sprouts of the myoga
It is often grown in houses. They can get about 40 cm long.
They are a delicacy to eat fresh or in soup.


kigo for late summer

myooga no ko 茗荷の子 "children of myoga"
the sprouts coming out near the root. In the wild, they come out of the ground like the bamboo sprouts. If they grow, a flower will come out at the end.
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myoogajiru 茗荷汁 soup with myoga


kigo for early autumn

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flowers of myoga, myooga no hana,
茗荷の花 (みょうがのはな)

They grow new ones day after day and look almost like orchids.

autumn myoga, aki myooga 秋茗荷(あきみょうが)
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kigo for the New Year

Myoga Festival, myoga matsuri
myooga matsuri 茗荷祭 (みょうがまつり)
Japanese Ginger rite

take no ko shinji 筍神事(たけのこしんじ)
Bamboo shoots Ritual

at 阿須々伎神社の茗荷, 阿須須伎神社
Shrine Asusuki Jinja is famous for its myoga divination during the Myoga Festival.
On the third day of the new year (now on the Setsubun, 3rd day in February) they use myoga to divine the outcome of the rice crop for the year. The myoga is grown in a special field in the shrine compounds (shinden 神田).
Kyoto, Kanego-uchi 金河内(かねごうち), Ayabe city.

Here is a similar festival at a different place

At the shrine Menuma Jinja in Hyogo prefecture
Shinonsen Town, 新温泉町の面沼神社で お茗荷祭り
The crest of this shrine is the myooga, see below.

On February 11 the festival is held in honor of a small patch of myoga that can be harvested in winter, it grows on a small island in the pond "Menu no Ike" 女奴池(めぬのいけ) of the shrine. It is bright green in winter in the snow, a very special kind of plant and one of the seven strange things of the Tajima area 但馬七不思議.
CLICK for original LINK ... town.shinoonsen
The festival starts at 6.30 in the morning, when the priest enters the small pond and takes some samples of the sprouts. According to the form of the buds and root and the pinkish shine, it is used to predict the harvest of the coming year. After the festival, special myoga mochi for 100 persons, myoga sushi for 50 persons and some tea of the local black beans is given to the visitors.
They all shout
"May we enjoy a long life! myooga medetaya 命賀めでたや".

In olden times, it was forbidden for women to participate. Today, the villagers come together, sometimes only 30 people of the community.
. . . CLICK here for Photos of the festival !

There is a song when you pound mochi rice which also includes myoga and fuki
Myoga medetaya Fuki hanjoo みょうがめでたや



INFORMATION : Zingiber mioga 
Myoga 茗荷 grows wild in my own garden in Okayama.

Its name might go back to a word of the same pronounciation 冥加, the divine protection of Japanese kami gods and Buddhist deities, divine happiness and blessings. Myoga will ward off evil.
It is also the symbol of the esoteric deity Madarajin 摩多羅神, see below, and therefore thought to be an auspicious plant and food. Its form is often used for crests of temples and shrines.

Sometimes called one of the"wasei haabu", 和製ハーブ Japanese herbs.
It is said to be slightly anaesthetic and ward off a cold in winter.

Most myoga is grown in Koochi in houses, in Gunma and Akita in the open, and the myogatake is grown in Miyagi prefecture.

legend knows this
One of the disciples of Buddha Shakyamuni, Culapantaka (Cuuda-pantaka) , had a hard time memorizing things and could not remember his own name, and even when Shakyamune places a name plate around his neck, he forgot to look at it and finally died without remembering his name. On his grave a strange plant started to grow. In a play of words it was called: "He did not even remember his name and had a hard time" 彼は自分の前をって苦労してきた, taken the two Chinese characters for 名荷 and placed the plant radical on top of the first character 茗荷.

There is a proverb saying:
If you eat a lot of myoga,
you will loose your memory.

So there is a rakugo funny story ”Myoga yadoya 茗荷宿屋” about this, when the owner of a small lodging facility tried to cheat a visitor about money, but ended up not getting his services payed, since his guest forgot to pay when he left and he forgot to remind him of the payment.
(In fact, as a Chinese medicine, myoga is used against memory loss.)


Original from http://crystalrays.org/
source : http://crystalrays.org/
Myoga is also the name of the bird that helps bring the lover stars Altair and Vega together on Tanabata, the night of the Star festival.
WKD : Star Festival (Tanabata)

For the O-Bon festival in Western Japan, people make decorations of a cucumber horse, an eggplant cow and a myooga sticking out with its long white part like this bird.

If someone is posessed by a fox spirit キツネッタカリ, you should give him myoga to eat, since foxes do not like this taste.

Myoga patterns are often used as family crests.
茗荷の家紋 myooga no kamon, coat of arms

CLICK for original LINK ... harimaya com
source : http://www.harimaya.com/o_kamon1/zukan/myouga.html

daki myooga 抱き茗荷 two myoga plants embracing
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This is one of the 10 most famous family crests in Japan.
kamon, Familienwappen

The family crest of
gyooyoo 杏葉 Gyoyo is very similar.
Family crest "Daki-gyoyo"
The Gyoyo-mon was used in various ways as a family crest of the Nabeshima family. The exhibition room is filled with splendid lacquerware and gorgeous artifacts of the daimyo.
- reference and photos : -


Myōga (茗荷) Myōga or myoga ginger
(Zingiber mioga, Zingiberaceae) is an herbaceous, deciduous, perennial native to Japan and other East-Asian countries that is grown for its edible flower buds and flavorful shoots. Flower buds are finely shredded and used in Japanese cuisine as a garnish for miso soup, sunomono and dishes such as roasted eggplant.

A traditional crop in Japan, myoga has been introduced to cultivation in Australia and New Zealand for export to the Japanese market.
As a woodland plant myoga has specific shade requirements for its growth. It is frost-tolerant to 0F, -18C possibly colder.
While some constituents of myoga are cytotoxic, others have shown promise for potentially anti-carcinogenic properties.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


Myoga is one of the TSUMA additions for a good sushi.
WASHOKU : Ken Tsuma Karami and Sashimi

Myoga as an addition to sashimi, tsuma, like a good wife, should bring the taste of the original out and therefore the sprout has to be cut into very fine slices.

There are two types used for food and most are best at the end of summer toward autumn, a plant bringing autumn on the table:

hanamyooga 花茗荷(はなみょうが) "flower myoga",
the buds itself 花蕾 (tsubomi)

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myoogadake 茗荷竹 "myoga bamboo" like a stick
fudemyooga 筆茗荷 ふでみょうが "like a brush"
It is white at the bottom and has a pinkish shine.
(one of the vegetables of Kyoto)
kyoo myooga 京みょうが Myoga from Kyoto
This is best eaten in spring.

A special brand is grown in Kanto, known as
Maebashi Myooga 前橋みょうが.

There used to be a brand Kohinata myooga 小日向茗荷 in Tokyo
but now only two place names remind us of the vast fields that used to be in this area (and an old lady growing this kind in her back yard).

Myoga Slope, myoogazaka 茗荷坂 (みょうがざか)
. . . CLICK here for Myogazaka Photos !
Myoga Valley, myoogadani 茗荷谷
. . . CLICK here for Myogadani Photos !
At the Myoga Valley, there used to be a stone statue of a small Jizo Bosatsu. When villagers went get a doctor for a very ill person, they came past this statue. If it was there as usual, the ill person would be all right, but if the stone statue faced the other sice, the doctor could not help any more.

aemono, used like a dressing
... with tuna fish シーチキン和え
... with tarako たらこ和え

hiyajiru 冷汁 cold soup
with miso and myoga, good in summer

myooga dengaku ミョウガ田楽
on a stick, grilled with red miso

myooga gohan ミョウガご飯 rice with myoga

myooga no misoae, miso-ae 茗荷の味噌和え
myoga with a miso dressing, a side dish for summer
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

myooga no pikkurusu 茗荷のピクルス
pickles with myoga 赤梅酢浅漬け
with the red vinegar juice of pickled plums (umesu)
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myooga no su-ae ミョウガ酢和え
myoga with vinegar dressing

myooga to nasu no misoshiru 茄子と茗荷の味噌汁
miso soup with myoga and eggplant

myooga tenpura 天ぷら as tempura

myoogazushi みょうが寿司 sushi with myoga wrapped around sushi rice
from Toyama prefecture
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

tamagotoji 卵とじ with egg

myooga ryoori ミョウガ料理 dishes with myoga
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Worldwide use

Zingi-Ingwer. Sprossen vom Zingi-Ingwer.
Japanischer Ingwer.

Things found on the way

Bull Festival of Uzumasa, 太秦の牛祭
God Madara, matara jin 摩多羅神
This is a Buddist festival for the Deity Matarajin. The God appears riding on the black cow. It is held in Kyoto on the 12th of October at the temple Kooryuu-Ji (Koryuji 広隆寺).

Matarajin, Madarajin (Matara Shin)
a protector of the Amida Sutra

By Gabi Greve


Even today, there is a famous statue of a "string-bound" Jizo Bosatsu statue at Myogazaka in Tokyo.
"Shibarare Jizo" in Tokyo


kaku ikite kaku wasurerare yuki daruma

thus lived
thus being forgotten
the snowman

Arima Akito 有馬朗人
Tr. Emiko Miyashita


nani mo naku motenasu suimono myoogatake

only a soup
to offer to visitors -
myoga like a brush

Satoo Minako 佐藤美奈子


茗荷汁 たのしいことが 多すぎる 
myoogajiru tanoshii koto ga oosugiru

myoga-soup -
almost too many
good things

Ono Tamiko 小野冨美子


myoogatake asage ni tsuma to kaku ikite

with myoga ginger
for breakfast thus I lived
with my dear wife

Kaneko Kirinsoo 金子麒麟草


source : Yasoichi(やそいち)


myooga no ko -
the roots of life
on my table

Gabi Greve
See more, August 2010

Related words

kigo for mid-summer

***** hanamyooga, hana myooga 花茗荷 (はなみょうが)
Japanese alpinia

lit. "flower myooga"
Alpinia japonica


WASHOKU : Ken Tsuma Karami and Sashimi

Kyooyasai, kyoyasai, kyosai 京野菜 / 京菜 Vegetables from Kyoto




Gabi Greve, Washoku said...

myoogabochi みょうがぼち
mochi wrapped in Japanese ginger
from Gifu

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Tokyo Kohinata Myogadani choo 小日向茗荷谷町 Kohinata Myogadani district
"Myoga Ginger Valley"

文京区 Bunkyo ward, 小日向1丁目と3丁目、4丁目, Kohinata first, third and fourth sub-district.