Home » A Guide to the Different Mushrooms Used in Japanese Cuisine
Mushrooms are a large component of Japanese cuisine. Called “kinoko” in Japanese, the many different types of mushrooms that might be used in particular dishes lend great umami to a dish and also offer a large range of health benefits.

If you’ve had the delight of sampling a variety of Japanese dishes, then you’ve likely noticed that mushrooms often make a regular appearance, as they are a large component of Japanese cuisine. Called “kinoko” in Japanese, the many different types of mushrooms that might be used in particular dishes lend great umami to a dish and also offer a large range of health benefits as well.

Shiitake mushrooms are very well-known in many other countries besides Japan. While shiitake may be the most common one, you’ll be doing your taste buds a great service if you seek out and try some of the other popular and delicious Japanese mushrooms.

Maitake Mushrooms

Also known as “Hen of the Woods,” or “King of the Mushrooms”, maitake mushrooms grow in large clusters with frilly tops. They are quite fragile and soft. They offer a woodsy flavor that lends itself well to sautés or soups, such as this healthy Sesame Flavored Miso Soup.

This flavorful variation of miso soup adds cabbage leaves, sesame oil and maitake mushrooms. The combination results in a earthy umami that will definitely have you going back for a second bowl!

Enoki Mushrooms

These delicate mushrooms have long white stems and small caps. They easily absorb the flavor of other ingredients and often served in hotpot dishes. Their crunch also holds up well in steamed dishes, such as Pork Belly and Vegetables in a Bamboo Steamer.

Pork belly is the star of this dish, but the accompaniment of crunchy bean sprouts, enoki mushrooms, spinach, scallions and pumpkin makes quite an enticing and healthy meal.

Nameko Mushrooms

Nameko mushrooms may not look all too appetizing at first. The small brown mushrooms come in bottles or cans, floating in a gelatinous fluid. In Japan, they are often added to miso soup and consumed for breakfast. Another way to enjoy their unique flavor is to mix with other vegetables and some soy sauce. Try this Nameko Mushroom and Tofu dish recipe.

The dish is fairly simple to make but contains a lot of flavor. The combination of nameko mushrooms and tofu offers a lot of health benefits as well.

Shimeji Mushrooms

Tiny mushrooms that have been making more of an appearance in major supermarkets as they grow in popularity, shimeji mushrooms have short, thin, white stems attached to a cluster. The brown caps are rather small yet meaty, and they can be added to a variety of dishes, including stir-frys, soups, and the Japanese pasta dish with bacon and spinach.

Bacon, garlic, shimeji mushrooms, spinach and red pepper — the exciting layers of flavor in this pasta dish are certain to make this a favorite meal to enjoy often.

Eryngii Mushrooms

Also known as trumpet mushrooms, eryngii mushrooms don’t have strong flavor but are rich, meaty and juicy. A quick braise is all they need to taste delicious. However, the texture perfectly complements the clams in this Mixed Rice with Clams dish.

Along with shiitake mushrooms and the flavorful dashi soup broth, this delectable dish practically sings with flavor.

Shiitake Mushrooms

And of course you cannot exclude shiitake mushrooms. Often chosen because of the wide range of healthy benefits they provide, they have a strong, woodsy flavor and a delicate texture. Shiitake mushrooms work well with many different dishes. Try them in this Stuffed Shiitake and Shishito Peppers recipe.

The peppers, spicy soy sauce mixture and ground beef in this recipe come together to provide a hearty meal, perfect on a cold or rainy day.