Yuzu (citron family)

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Yuzu (citron family. Japan)

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Late Autumn. Others see below
***** Category: Plant


citron, yuzu, 柚子 Citrus medica
citron, yu 柚
"vinegar citron", Tokushima citron, sudachi 醋橘
.... quite a sour type, mixed into soy sauce for a delicious dip

green citron, ao yu 青柚
"fragrant citron", kabosu, 芳醋
..... from Oita prefecture in Kyushu

"tree citrus", kizu 木醋
..... from Kyushu, quite a sour type

Yuzu plays an important part in the food life of Japanese. See below for yuzu-kigo of other categories.
The different local specialities are now sold all over Japan.

The green fruit start changing to a bright yellow-orange when it gets cold. The wild trees in our garden bear a lot of fruit every second year only. The taste of yuzu is very special and used in many food preparations and even the bath.

In summer the tree has small white flowers:

kigo for mid-summer
yu no hana 柚の花 (ゆのはな)
yuzu no hana 柚子の花(ゆずのはな)
hana yuzu 花柚子(はなゆず), hanayu 花柚(はなゆ)


Pictures of the Yuzu tree, fruit and flower are here:


Pictures of Sudachi, a much smaller fruit. The juice is sprinkeld over food, especially broiled and fried fish and in soup.


yuzu and a pun with yuuzuu 融通, to be able to pass without hinderance
for the new year a wish to pass the year without illness or problems.

a well-liked New Year Decoration
. The First Lunar Month 一月 ichigatsu - 睦月 mutsuki - .

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

CLICK For more photos

Citrus fruits (kankitsu rui 柑橘類)


shikararete ane wa nikai e yuzu no hana

my sister got scolded
and went upstairs -
yuzu blossoms

(Tr. Gabi Greve)

Takaha Shugyoo 鷹羽 狩行

His poems are also translated into English.
Selected Haiku  英訳 鷹羽狩行句集

Related words

***** Yuzu-Bath (yuzu-yu 柚子湯)
kigo for winter (humanity)

Read Linda Inoki in the Japan Times about the Yuzu-Bath

The hot-spring bath was housed in a new three-story building. If you went first class, for only eight sen they lent you a bathrobe, an attendant washed you, and a girl served you tea in one of those elegant, shallow cups they use for the tea ceremony. When I was sure nobody was about, I would amuse myself by swimming around the perimeter of the tank.

From "Botchan" by Natsume Soseki (1867-1916)
translated by Alan Turney (Kodansha International)

You might be wondering what the connection is between yuzu and a hot-spring bath. Well, on the longest night of winter, which this year is on Dec. 21, countless yuzu fruits will be swimming about in the nation's baths! This is traditionally the night that people soak in a yuzu-buro (yuzu bath), since the aromatic steam is believed to protect the bather from illness and colds.
Yuzu is a hardy native of China that was brought to Japan in ancient times. The fragrant white flowers open in early summer and the small, bumpy fruits ripen to yellow in winter. A small sliver of yuzu peel adds a warm, delicate fragrance to soups, sweetmeats and New Year dishes. And although you might find a plastic mandarin orange on top of the modern kagami-mochi (New Year rice cakes), their authentic topping is yuzu -- a far more suitable offering to the gods.


The hot yuzu bath enhances the production of noradrenalin and has other health benefits. We always put one or two in the bath water, let it soak for a while and enjoy the smell of it. They are also used, as Linda describes above, in many public bath houses and hot springs, sometimes so many in the bath tub you can not see the water.
Taken on December 21, it is also called "Bath of the Winter Solstice" (tooji-yu 冬至湯).
Gabi Greve


***** Yuzu and Bean Paste (yuzu-miso, yuzu-kama) :
humanity kigo for autumn,

This is especially delicious when freshly prepared, Cut of the head of the yuzu fruit, take the seeds and meat out to make it empty, fill it up with homemade bean paste (miso) soaked in yuzu juice, put the lid on it again and fry it for a while. The delicious smell will call the whole neighbourhood to share this dish.

Another preparation is to add the yuzu juice and meat to the miso and let it sit for a month before using the miso as usual to prepare the daily soup. That provides a pleasant smell to the breakfast table. This was one of the first presents we got from the neighbours after moving to our mountain hermitage in rural Japan.

yuzu-miso -
the neighbours smile
welcomes winter

Gabi Greve


. kimori yuzu 木守柚(きもりゆず)
One last fruit (or a few) is left on the tree to "watch over it".

plant kigo for all winter


Citrus fruits (kankitsu rui 柑橘類)



Anonymous said...

This is music to my ears. I so much love Yuzu!

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

yuzu no ki Jizoo 柚の木地蔵 Jizo of the Yuzu citron.

an ibotori Jizo Bosatsu いぼとり地蔵 to take away warts

Gabi Greve said...

Tale from Chiba
Throwing yuzu 柚子 citrons under the veranda would cause fire.

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