Japan Data

“Asazuke” Tops Ranking of Japan’s Favorite Pickles

Food and Drink Lifestyle

Pickles, or tsukemono, play an important role in a Japanese meal, acting as a palate cleanser with their crunchy texture and balanced acidity, so that the flavor of the main food can be enjoyed more fully. Despite reported health benefits, the number of people eating them is on the decline.

A survey on pickles or tsukemono, conducted by MyVoice Communications, revealed that the number of Japanese people who regularly eat them is decreasing. In a similar survey run in 2005, more than 80% of respondents had said that they ate tsukemono at least once a week. That percentage had fallen to 60%, however, by the time of the survey conducted in early January 2023, with 10,089 respondents. Only 12.3% of respondents said they ate them “almost every day.” There was a marked shift by people under 40 away from eating them.

How often do you eat tsukemono (Japanese pickles)?

Asked about their favorite type of tsukemono, the most popular with 55% of respondents was asazuke lightly pickled vegetables. Takuan pickled daikon radish and kimchi were both also loved by more than 50%. Nukazuke rice-bran fermented vegetables, hakusaizuke pickled Chinese cabbage, shiozuke salt-pickled vegetables, and umeboshi salt-pickled plums were all rated in the range of 40% to 49%.

What is your favorite type of tsukemono or pickling method?

When asked about how they prepared their tsukemono, the overwhelming majority, at 85.3%, answered “store-bought.” A further 24.2% said they “pickled at home using seasonings and nukadoko (a fermented rice bran bed for pickling),” and 21.2% “pickled at home using store-bought pickling bases.” Those who ate tsukemono “almost every day” or “4–5 times a week” were more likely to make their own pickles.

(Translated from Japanese. Banner photo © Pixta.)

fermentation vegetable