Know Your Japanese Mushrooms

Know Your Japanese Mushrooms

Posted by Yuri Nonaka on 17th Aug 2015

Enoki, shiitake, shimeji, matsutake. Do you recognize these words? They are just a few of the many types of mushrooms Japanese consume.

The word for mushroom in Japanese is kinoko, but it is too broad and rarely used. In Japan, even children know most mushrooms by type.


Enoki mushrooms have small, firm caps and long, slender stems. They are slightly crunchy with a mild, delicate flavor.

Because of their shape and texture, many dieters use them as a substitute for pasta.

Enoki mushrooms are eaten almost always cooked. They go well with all meats and seafood and are excellent in stir-fries, stews, and soups.


Shiitake mushrooms are perhaps the most popular type of mushroom in Japan.

They are soft and have a meaty, chewy texture when cooked.

The rich flavor of shiitake mushrooms is earthy with pine and smoky overtones. Very common in stir-fried dishes.


Shimeji mushrooms are firm with a slightly crunchy texture and mildly nutty flavor.

They are almost always eaten cooked. Good in stir-fries, soups, stews and any seafood.


Matsutake mushrooms are among the rarest on most expensive type os mushrooms anywhere.

Highest quality Matsutakes can cost several hundred (if not a thousand!) dollars per kilogram.

They have an intense aroma with clean, pine, and cinnamon-like flavor.


Maitake mushrooms have a tender, semi-firm body.

Their luscious flavor ranges from fruity to earthy and slightly spicy.

Maitakes are easy-going as they absorb companion ingredients' flavors when cooked.


Nameko mushrooms come in small clusters with orangey, shiny caps.

They are chewy and have a slightly gelatin-like texture.

Namekos have a mild, earthy flavor with nutty overtones. They go well with miso soup as a natural thickener.


Eringi mushrooms are full-bodied, with a chewy, meaty texture and a slight hint of sweetness.

It is almost always eaten cooked. Some resemble eringi's taste and texture to that of abalone.


Saru-no-Koshikake is a hard, woody mushroom. Japanese dry and dice it to make an herbal tea known for its antibacterial, immunity boosting, and anti-tumor benefits.

The tea has a smooth, slightly sweet, and very mushroomy flavor.