Kouhaku namasu / daikon and carrot pickles

Kouhaku namasu / daikon and carrot pickles

I’m going to introduce one of my favorite pickles called 紅白なます(kouhaku namasu). It’s always used in special dishes for New Year’s Day here in Japan because of the reason below.

What is “kouhaku“?

紅(kou) means red, and 白(haku) means white. The combination of these two colors symbolizes something congratulatory. For example, curtains with red and white stripes are often used for ceremonies and events.

Red and white strings called “kouhaku mizuhiki” are also used to decorate something in order to make it look lucky.


Although the color of the carrot isn’t exactly red, the julienned carrot and daikon radish look like kouhak mizuhiki. If you use a carrot like this. It should look more like mizuhiki.

Kintoki ninjin/carrot

However, an orange color carrot is usually used for this dish because it’s more common in Japan. Kouhaku namasu is often called namasu and this pickle can be eaten anytime and not only on special days.

What is “Namasu“?

なま(nama) means raw. す(su) means vinegar. Usually, this dish is written in hiragana but the kanji of namasu when using only veg is 膾 and if you add fish or meat you would use this kanji 鱠.
Originally, namasu is a dish with some raw julienned ingredients such as fish, meat, and vegetables mixed with seasoned vinegar. So that’s why it’s called namasu.
Nowadays, most of namasu is made of raw vegetables.
The most commonly used ingredients are carrots and daikon radishes.



柚子 (yuzu) is often used for this namasu and I used it for mine.
Yuzu is a very popular citrus in Japan. It’s also well known as “Yuzu” around the world. The smell of yuzu is beautiful, not as sweet as an orange, and not as sour as a lemon.
I think the smell is kind of elegant and makes us feel relaxed.

In Japanese cuisine, yuzu is an ingredient where you can enjoy the aroma rather than eating it. Just add a small amount of yuzu skin or juice, and your dish can be fancy!

I love both the sweet and sour taste of namasu, and especially the texture!
The way of making “kouhaku namasu” is quite easy and you can make it with very simple ingredients! You should try it right now!


Kouhaku Namasu / Daikon and Carrot pickles

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Japanese
Keyword Pickles
Prep Time 30 minutes
Author Mika


  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • 2 large bowls


  • 600 g daikon radish (the part near the leaves)

  • 60 g carrot 2.1oz
  • 9 g salt 0.3oz
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 4 tbsp vinegar
  • a little yuzu skin (if it available)


  • Prepare these ingredients
  • Cut the daikon radish into 5 cm (1.9in) slices.
  • Peel them.
  • Slice thinly.
  • Cut into thin julienne strips.
  • Prepare the carrots in the same way as the daikon radish.
  • Place the daikon and carrots into a bowl. Add the salt.
  • Massage the mixture with your hand. First lightly, then gradually increasing in pressure until they are soft and pliable.
  • Slice the yellow part of the yuzu skin thinly.
  • Cut into thin julienne
  • In another bowl, combine the sugar, vinegar and yuzu skin.
  • Gently squeeze out some of the excess moisture from the vegetables, but not too much, you don't want to make them dry.
  • Combine the vegetables with the sweetened vinegar.
  • Mix them well.


  • You can eat it right after you’ve finished making it. As time goes on the flavor becomes more mature.
    “I like the flavor in three days!”
  • To ensure a good color combination, make sure the amount of carrots doesn’t exceed 10% of the amount of the daikon radish.
  • Yellow yuzu is available in Japan during the winter. I also make namasu without yuzu in the other seasons. It’s also good! You can add konbu seaweed to namasu too.

Tried this recipe?

Let me know on Instagram with @cook_and_meshiagare
I look forward to seeing your dish!

Thank you for allowing me to share my recipe with you. I hope to see you again soon.

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