Is this dish too simple for New Year’s festivities? “Nanakusagayu,” a dish from the Edo period.

“Nanakusagayu” (rice porridge) is famously known by the Japanese and is one of many New Year’s dishes. Japanese New Year’s dishes usually contain many ingredients, but this porridge only uses 7 fresh young herbs. They are; seri (Japanese parsley), nazuna (shepherd’s purse), gogyo (Jersey cudweed), hakobe (common chickweed), hotoke no za (henbit), suzuna (turnip), and suzushiro (daikon), that are all collectively called the “Seven vernal flowers.”

nanakusa02【Photo by Hidetsugu Tonomura


Eat it while praying for good health in the New Year!

The custom of eating “Nanakusagayu” on January 7th is an old tradition in Japan that is still practiced today. Why you ask? The notion behind this tradition is that the dish will settle your stomach after eating all the rich, salty foods from the New Year’s celebration. It’s original intention to wish for a perfect state of health in the year by eating fresh young sprouts that endured the cold winter because it was said to purge you of noxious vapors. The origin of “Nanakusagayu” is very common to New Year’s traditions!

nanakusa03【Photo by hightown99


This healthy, nutritious dish is suitable during the cold season!

As you may know, porridge is a very ‘stomach friendly’ food, so it’s best to eat during Bonenkai (Year-end party), when you eat and drink a lot. Seri (Japanese parsley) contains iron; Hakobe (common chickweed) contains a relatively high amount of protein and is rich in vitamins. Why not eat “Nanakusagayu” while praying for your good health in the Year?

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miho mayeda

miho mayeda


I politely introduce my beloved country of Japan in my beloved Japanese language. I am an artisan with words, and will give my body and soul to the end. I am a freelance editor and writer who was born and raised in Tokyo.