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The 5 Major Types of Japanese Yam

What Is Japanese Yam?

Japanese yam is a type of edible potato, called yama-imo (mountain potato) in Japanese. When grated, it becomes sticky and becomes a dish called tororo.

The term “yama-imo” covers almost all types of yam in Japan including the yam native to China. However, strictly speaking, there are various types.

Please check this page for details.
What Is Japanese Yam and How Is It Used?

▲Tororo on soba noodles

Different Types of Yam in Japan

Let’s take a closer look at the types of yams. Here, I am introducing 5 major types of yam in Japan.

It can be roughly divided into 3.
1. Jinenjo
2. Yamano-imo
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Naga-imo Type
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Icho-imo Type
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Massive Yam Type
3. Daijo

1. Jinenjo (Japanese Yam)

Jinenjo is native to Japan and a long, narrow strip of yam.

Out of all the yams, it is the most sticky and contains a lot of umami taste.

Since ancient times, it has been prized as a nourishing tonic food and has been known as the king of wild plants.

2. Yamano-imo (Japanese Yam / Chinese Yam)

Naga-imo Type

・Naga-imo
Naga-imo is native to China, and usually called Chinese yam in English.

It contains more water and less sticky than jinenjo and other types of Japanese yam. Therefore, grated Chinese yam can be mixed well with other material.

It is frequently cheaper than the other types, and you could find it often at stores.

Icho-imo Type

・Icho-imo
Icho-imo is native to Japan, and mainly eaten in the Kanto region.

Icho means ginkgo, and the shape looks like ginkgo leaves (flat and spread shape).

Stickiness is about halfway between Chinese yam and jinenjo.

It is often called yamato-imo especially in the Kanto region.

Massive Yam Type

・Tsukune-imo
Tsukune-imo is native to Japan, and mainly eaten in the Kansai region.

It has a round and rugged shape, and looks like dark color potatoes.

The grated tsukune-imo is very sticky and has great rich taste that are similar to jinenjo.

It can be called yamato-imo or yamano-imo.

3. Daijo (Okinawan yam / Taiwanese Yam)

Daijo is native to tropical Asia.

There are 2 color types: white daijo is mainly eaten in the Kyushu region, while purple daijo is mainly eaten in Okinawa prefecture.

Many of these are large, and the larger ones can weigh more than 10 kg.

When grated, it has a strong stickiness that is incomparable to Chinese yam. It has very strong taste too.

Are Japanese Yams the Same As Sweet Potatoes?

These two are totally different vegetable.

Please check this page for details.
Japanese Yam vs Sweet Potato: What Are the Differences?

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