Fresh Yuzu fruit
Food & Drink

Best Yuzu in Japan: Top Products You Can Find From This Amazing Fruit

Not as common as oranges, little lemons, or lime but with a fruity zest and fragrant juice that outmatches these citruses. Yes, we are talking about the Yuzu citrus fruit that has every western celebrity chef raving on its floral aroma. Here are products in Japan containing the Yuzu fruit:

  • Yuzu Ponzu Sauce
  • Yuzu Juice
  • Yuzu-cha
  • Yuzukosho Chips
  • Yuzu Drops
  • Yuzu Zest
  • Yuzushu
  • Yuzu Salt Baths
  • Yuzu Hand Cream
  • Yuzu Face Scrub

The Yuzu, like so many highly acidic fruits such as the sudachi and busshukan (Buddha’s hand), has an illustrious history in the Japanese culture. Let’s dive into the various products in Japan that are using this fruit’s juice and pulp and in the process edging Yuzu’s legacy in the Japanese culture.

What is Yuzu

The yuzu has the rough exterior of a lemon and the bracing tart juice of an orange– although it is smaller than orange. It is either green or yellow, depending on how ripe it is. This citrus fruit has its roots in China and has a mixed parentage – a hybrid of the Mandarin orange and the Ichang papeda.

The Japanese rarely eat the yuzu on its own since it has very little juice and is full of seeds. However, a fresh yuzu has a tart taste between that of mandarin orange and a grapefruit. It also has an uplifting fragrance, which has seen its use gain lots of popularity.

Pieces of Cut Yuzu showing multiple seeds
Pieces of Yuzu known for a tart tasting juice and uplifting fragrance

Fresh yuzu also makes for attractive plants with sweetly-scented flowers. Besides, unlike many citrus plants, it can withstand extremely cold temperatures (as low as -9°C/15°F), making it a very popular fruit during winters in Japan.

So if people rarely consume on its own due to limited juice and seeds, what makes it so popular? Yuzu makes a wide variety of products – from consumables such as food and drinks to cosmetics and bath products.

Yuzu Products

Now that you have discovered what Yuzu is, we will share some of the top products you get from this fruit and where to get these products. Then we can rank the best yuzu product based on its usability and significance to the Japanese culture.

Here’s a list of the best products, how they are made and their uses;

1. Yuzu Ponzu Sauce

It is one of the most popular yuzu fruit products in Japan. As a citrus-based sauce, most people use it as a substitute for soy sauce. It adds that tart taste and an aromatic element of yuzu to the meals.

This sauce goes well with both foreign and Japanese cuisine for meats, fish, and vegetables. You can also use it as a vinaigrette for salads, tofu. Even better, you can use it as a dipping sauce for dumplings without the need to cook them first.

Bottles with dark Ponzu Sauce
Dark Ponzu sauce add an aromatic taste to food

2. Yuzu Juice

Also known as yuzusu, it is 100% yuzu. This juice has several uses as a condiment in the preparation of different foods or drinks. For instance, you can use it as a vinegar substitute in recipes.

Yuzu juice makes cocktails of various drinks
Yuzu juice used in alcohol cocktails

You can also mix with liquor to make cocktails or sours. Alcohol is very popular in Japan, especially sour, which comes in many varieties. Yuzu is one of the most popular ingredients in the varieties of sours that the Japanese enjoy.

Besides, you can mix it with sparkling water or other beverages and use it as a refreshment.

3. Yuzu-cha

Known as Yuja-cha in Korea, yuzu-cha is a tea made from the yuzu marmalade that is very popular in Japan. The citrus taste and yuzu fragrance make it a refreshing and relaxing beverage. It tastes best when hot, especially during the winter, not only to warm you up but also to prevent colds.

Yuzu marmalade mixed with honey in a glass to form Yuzu-cha
Yuzu marmalade mixed with honey form a relaxing beverage- the yuzu-cha

To make the Yuzu-cha, just add hot water, sugar, honey, and a bit of the marmalade of yuzu. Moreover, it comes in powder form, which you can add to your beverages for similar results.

4. Yuzukosho

The Yuzukosho is mainly used for a wide variety of cooking activities such as tempura, hotpots (oden) to add that extra kick in your meals.

Yuzukosho adds a magical touch to fish and vegetables
Yuzukosho adds a magical taste to fish and vegetables

You can make the paste by mixing a yuzu peel with salt and fermented chili peppers. Besides, use it to add the magic touch to your cooking, be it fish, meat, or vegetables.

5. Yuzukosho Chips

If you like chili and vinegar crisps, then you will love the yuzukosho flavored ones. The crisps are coated in the fermented chilies, salt, and yuzu zest or juice.

Yuzukosho flavoured chips are irrresistable
Yuzukosho flavoured chips are irrresistable

This creates a spicy and acidic flavour that will get you hooked right after you open your packet.

6. Yuzu Drops

They act like just like regular lemon drops commonly used to soothe sore throat and aid in reducing cough. In some instances, they may help in voice recovery as well as freshening your breath, especially among smokers.

Yuzu drops for soothing sore throat

7. Yuzu Zest

Yuzu zest is a powder extract from the yuzu peel that is used for a wide array of activities such as cooking and making cocktails. When used in cooking, it adds a unique flavor and great aroma in meals giving them a fresh, lively taste.

Yuzu zest adds citrus flavour in dessert fruitcake
Yuzu zest adds citrus flavour in dessert fruitcake

You can use it to spice up your fish, meat, oyster, cake and other dessert recipes.

It can also be used as an ingredient in sours cocktails to add that fruity citrus zest and floral aroma. 

8. Yuzushu

Japan is well known for its fruit-based liquors, such as the hugely popular plum liquor. Yuzushu tap into the taste and aromatic properties of the Yuzu fruit.

Yuzushu drink made from Yuzu fruit in a glass
Yuzushu drink -made from Yuzu fruit has citric freshness

The Yuzushu drink is not overly sweet, like the plum liquor. However, it has mild acidity with a hint of sweetness. The yuzu adds that citrus freshness and an amazing aromatic persistence to the drink.

9. Yuzu Salt Baths

Taking salt baths is a serious and quite popular tradition in Japan, especially in the winter. Yuzu salts are added to bathwater for its fragrant aroma and medicinal properties.

During harvest season, which peaks at around 22nd of December (winter solstice), there is a long-held tradition of taking a Yuzi bath or Yuzuyu. It happens not only in personal bathtubs but also in public baths and hot springs.

Some people prefer using fresh Yuzi fruits too. They are sliced and left to float on the water allowing their juice to mix with the bathwater.

Yuzu bath salts in containers placed on a bathroom shelf
Yuzu bath salts for aromatherapeutic baths

The main health benefits of taking yuzu baths involve the warming and relaxation of the body, especially in the cold weather. This improves blood circulation and wards off winter diseases like cold and flu.

Using Yuzi in your baths has beauty benefits too. It softens the skin thanks to the citric acid, minerals, and vitamins A and C from the peel and salts in the bath. Besides, the fragrance produced has aromatherapeutic benefits to help you relax and calm your mind.

Finally, the Japanese believe that taking a yuzu bath, especially in the winter, will bring a piece of good luck in the coming year. It means the bath rids you of the bad fortune, allowing you to leave it in that year. Even better, good health and wealth await you in the New Year. 

10. Yuzu Hand Cream

Yuzu is also used to make organic hand cream that has a great citrus scent. The cream leaves your hands soft and smelling great.

Yuzu cream for softening hands
Yuzu cream for softening hands

It also helps retain moisture in your hands, thus preventing them from hardening or cracking due to the cold.

11. Yuzu Face Scrub

The Yuzu face scrub is especially useful during winter when the skin dries up and sheds. You can use the Yuzu face scrub to remove the dead skin cells leaving a brighter and moisturised skin.

Yuzu sugar scrub in a container
Yuzu sugar scrub is used as an antioxidant

The yuzu extract in the face scrub acts as an antioxidant, which helps in making the skin more radiant. It also improves blood and lymphatic circulation.

Where can you get Yuzu Products

You can easily find most of these yuzu products in most local stores within Japan. However, supermarkets or grocery stores in major cities around Japan should be your first picks, especially for food products such as ponzu, crisps, yuzu cha, yuzukosho, juice, and yuzushu.

Cosmetic products like lip balm, hand cream, drops, and bath salts can be found in pharmacies or specialist stores if they are not in the supermarket.

If you are looking for products online, Amazon stocks most of the yuzu products from different brands. Alternatively, a simple google search of the product you need will yield numerous results of different online stores such as Rakuten or Sugi Bee selling the product within your locality or offering delivery services.

Unlike the yuzu fruit in its fresh form that is quite hard to find, the yuzu products are very popular in Japan. Therefore, they are easy to find.

Our favourite Yuzu product

With so many products from one single fruit, it is almost impossible to decide the best product. However, despite the yuzu fruit having so many applications in the food industry, we find ourselves leaning more towards the cosmetics side, more specifically on the salt baths.

Yuzu fruit on salt baths
Yuzu fruit in Japanese salt baths for its medicinal properties

The main reason for this is because baths have a very major role in Japanese culture. During Toji (the day of the winter solstice), a majority of the population have a tradition of taking yuzu baths. This shows how much the yuzu fruit is revered in Japan. So much so that it has been integrated in the people’s culture.

Besides the health benefits of taking these baths, the beliefs of health, good fortune, and warding off of evil spirits give more meaning to this tradition. This tradition is a unifying factor among the people. All thanks to the yuzu fruit.

Eli Civil

A software engineer, entrepreneur, and Japanese culture enthusiast. I travel the world while working from my laptop and try to visit Japan as often as I can. About Eli Civil

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