About Sansho

Sansho, the spice of wonder

<What is Sansho?>

Sansho (Xanthroxylum piperitum DC) is one of the most popular spices originated from Japan. Its refined fragrance and stimulating pungency uniquely add variety to Japanese cuisines. Sansho’s young leaf is often served in a soup bowl, on the top of Tofu or on the side of Sashimi and Sushi. A little leaf of Sansho not only makes the dish more charming in sight but also refreshes and whets the appetite.

Sansho flower which blooms from late April to early May, is served in high class restaurants. Its mint-like and refreshing fragrance is the season’s special treat.

Summer is the busiest season for Sansho farmers. Most of Sansho trees are harvested before the seed starts to mature. Perhaps the most well-known use of Sansho is its dried and ground seed husk as a topping of Kabayaki (eel teriyaki). Shichimi, which means Seven Tastes, is a blended spice which is served at Yakitori, Soba, Udon and any other Japanese food restaurant around every corner of cities and Sansho is its essential ingredient blended with other spices such as chili, sesame and seaweed.

              Besides adding flavor to those day-to-day foods, the majority of Sansho is also consumed by medical and cosmetic industries for its pharmaceutical effect.

<Effect of Sansho>

Sansho has been a part of medicines used in Japan since the olden time. Active ingredients include sansho poliphenol, sanshool, and shansho amid. Sansho polyphenol has an anti-oxidization function; inhibit cancer, heart disease and brain blood pipe disorder; and enhance blood circulation. Sanshool activates internal organs, enhances digestion. Sanshool’s fat burning effect is a reason of Sansho’s popularity as a health and slimming supplement.

Active Ingredient


Sansho Polyiphenol

Anti-oxidizing effect (cancer, heart diseases, inhibitory of brain blood circulation disorder), Enhancing blood circulation (Enhancing hair grow, prevention of grey hair) Anti-oxidizing effect (cancer, heart diseases, inhibitory of brain blood circulation disorder), Enhancing blood circulation (Enhancing hair grow, prevention of grey hair)


Pungency, Enhancing internal organs, dissolving chill of stomach




Fragrance, Anti-virus function, Inhibitory of excess stomach acid


Fragrances, Tonic


Fragrance, Anti-infection function, Tonic


Food Chemistry 100 (2007) 171-177 Antioxidant activity of Japanese pepper

<Kaneichi is a founder of Sansho Business>

Our great-grandfather, Katsunosuke Yamamoto, disseminated Sansho business in Wakayama Prefecture in 19th century. Our mother land, Wakayama, mountainous and hilly, is very difficult to raise crops. Katsunosuke ,however, found it suitable to plant Sansho trees. He shared young shansho plants with less privileged farmers who had just a few cultivatable lands. He taught them how to make use of the hilly lands and that they can still obtain yields in their challenging environment. He offered to buy the Sansho husks and supply them to pharmaceutical companies which are grown afterward to be giant enterprises such as Takeda and Shionogi. Wakayama’s Sansho yield later has been reached to the top of the nation. Now Wakayama produces 300 tons of Sansho every year, which is 80% of share of the whole country.

              Kaneichi is a brand name of Katsunosuke’s business. We as a keeper of his legend offer you this spice of wonder, which is SANSHO. If you are interested in knowing more about Sansho, please contact us. We will be pleased to help you to get acquainted with this spice of wonder.

Copyright (C) 2007 Yamamoto-Katsunosuke shoten. All Rights Reserved.