“Fukinoto” informs of the arrival of spring in Japan

Japanese people love seasonal ingredients that are eaten by every four seasons.

“Fukinoto” is one of the most popular ingredients that represent ”spring”.

Here I introduce Fukinoto to you.


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What is Fukinoto?

Fukinoto (蕗の薹、ふきのとう), or Japanese butterbur scape, is a Japan-native wild vegetable, growing in mountains nationwide.

Fukinoto is a baby bud of butterbur, and after the flower blooms, the baby leaf comes out from the rhizomes.

It has long been used for edible in Japan. It has a unique fragrance and bitter taste.

In the beginning of spring, when the snow begins to melt, a lot of Fukinoto sprout from the ground all at once. Therefore the time of harvest differs in region, depends on climate.

Usually in local newspapers it is often taken up with Tsukushi (horsetail) as a news telling that spring has now come.

In Japanese it is written as “蕗の薹”.
“蕗” is the name of the plant, means butterbur.
“薹” means young flower buds of butterbur.
There is a proverb called “薹が立つ”.
It means that “Flower of vegetables becomes stretch and harden, passing the time suitable for edible”.
Moreover, there is another meaning that is “A person becomes turning over or grow too much “.


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How to eat Fukinoto?

Fukinoto is one of necessary ingredients for Japanese cuisine, as a wild plant to express the spring season.

It is widely used In Japanese foods, such as spice and tempura.

Also, in northern part of Japan, it is also eaten as a cuisine called “Bakke Miso (ばっけ味噌)”, mixed with miso and mackerel.

So, where should I go to eat Fukinoto? In the spring season, if you go to a soba restaurant near mountain side, you can probably have it.

The most popular recipe is tempura.

I also like to eat it as tempura!

Fukinoto Legend

Fukinoto has long been related with Japanese culture.

It  also appears in Japanese old tales, which shows that Fukinoto has been utilized in Japanese food from a long time.

“Fukihime (Fukinoto princess) Legend”

Long ago, in the house behind a mountain, there lived a beautiful girl named “Fuki” and his father.

One day Fuki came to the legendary fountain behind forest. Its water was said to cure any disease. She tried to cure her father who was hit by the bear in the mountain and was lying in bed.

However, it was said that there was a ghost living in this fountain and whoever became captive of the ghost would never return. Fuki did not know anything about love yet.

The fountain was over the forest. In the night, the clear water was shining like a mirror. When she was fascinated by its beauties for a while, the ghost of the fountain appeared in front of her and said, “Please stay here forever.”

She was worried if she should stay, but when the ghost extended his hand to her, she was obsessed and said, “I am here forever.”

After a few years, when her father passed by the spring, he found Fuki’s water jug. A cute yellow flower was blooming beside it.

Then the flower came to be called “Fukinoto”,  and since then, no one has seen Fuki.


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