From seed to table.

Hearty, tender and bursting with natural sweetness, kabocha squash is a core element of Washoku, and provides a delicious balance of starch, sugar and moisture to each dish.

Zuccurì is a specific variety of kabocha squash which is likened to a chestnut in its sweetness and a sweet potato in its texture. This versatile winter squash is packed with flavor from its vibrant orange interior to its edible dark green exterior skin. Its soft consistency first crumbles and then melts in the mouth, a unique characteristic that comes from its starch content. Zuccuri is a bit dry, not wet and viscous like a classic kabocha squash or common pumpkin, but its natural sweetness is often misleading to the point that many think Zuccuri has been artificially sweetened.

Zuccurì is a customary winter staple in Japan and a reliable source of vitamins when vitamin and carotene rich veg is scarce, as it can be stored for up to three months in a cool, dry place. Traditionally enjoyed on winter solstice in Japan, zuccurì is often prepared in a sweet soup with adzuki beans in the wintertime as it is believed to help boost the immune system and prevent colds.

Succulent, fresh and fragrant – negi is a staple of washoku, cultivated in Japan since antiquity and found in nearly every traditional Japanese dish.

Growing long and thick in deep rich soil (often over 3 feet in length), Negi closely resembles a European leek, distinguished by its long, sleek white stalks and hollow green tops. Compared to European leek, the key differences are their layers and flavors. Like an onion, Negi has a core in the middle with layers to cover it, and that core is juicy and flavourful when cooked.

Negi is rarely grown outside Japan, but is gradually becoming a specialty crop throughout regions of Hawaii and California.

Crunchy, crisp and refreshing, saku saku is arguably one of the most versatile vegetables in Japanese cooking.

Saku saku means “crispy” in Japanese, and as its name suggests, this cabbage variety gives you a delightfully fresh crunch when biting into its snappy green leaves.

Shishimai is a lucky word chosen for promotion of our shishito pepper under the Oishii Nippon Project. Shishi means lion and Mai means dance. Shishimai is a festive dance performed in lion costumes at celebrations and festivals, and is especially seen at shrines and shopping malls during the New Year. The lion's mouth is designed to crunch and bite the head of a child to ward off bad luck, improve academic performance, and bring good health.

The pepper is bright and bite-sized, not spicy in taste, but a peppery flavor. It is harvested green before turning red for peak flavor and at one bite size perfect for snacking.

Why shishi/lion? The two split ends of the pepper resemble a lion with its mouth open. Bring a good luck in your body biting shishimai!

Kabù, which translates to Turnips, come in many different types of colors and shapes around the world, and the pure white turnip is the most popular type in Japan. It is an essential ingredient in porridge, which is eaten on January 7, the end of the New Year celebration period, and its other name, Suzuna, literally means bell green, has the sacred meaning of a bell that calls to the gods.

Sweet Kabù is distinguished by its leafy green tops and bright, pure white root. This white turnip variety is different from other turnips offering a silky delicate texture as well as juicier, more fruit-like, flesh.

The Oishii Nippon

P R O J E C T 

The Oishii Nippon Project was launched by Tokita to bring these uniquely developed and delicious vegetable staples of Japan’s Washoku culture to countries around the world, offering a holistic Seed to Table approach in the cultivation, preparation, and enjoyment of these healthy vegetables. Meet the farmers, enrich your palate, grow at home, and connect to your food – from seed to table.


Learn, Grow, Eat

Discover ways to bring washoku into your garden and onto your table. Explore our seed varieties, growing tips, recipes and more.