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Japanese popular mushrooms, clockwise from left, enokitake, buna-shimeji, bunapi-shimeji, king oyster mushroom and shiitake (front).
Lyophyllum shimeji
Bunapi (Hokto Corp. develops)

Shimeji (Japanese languageシメジ, 占地) is a group of edible mushrooms native to East Asia, but also found in northern Europe.[1] Hon-shimeji (Lyophyllum shimeji) is a mycorrhizal fungus and difficult to cultivate. Other species are saprotrophs, and buna-shimeji is now widely cultivated. Shimeji is rich in umami tasting compounds such as guanylic acid, glutamic acid, and aspartic acid.[2]


There are several species sold as shimeji mushrooms. All are saprotroph except Lyophyllum shimeji.

The cultivation methods have been patented by several groups, such as Takara Bio[3] and Yamasa,[4] and the cultivated hon-shimeji is available from several manufacturers in Japan.[5][6]
Hypsizygus marmoreus is a synonym of Hypsizigus tessellatus. Cultivation of Buna-shimeji was first patented by Takara Shuzo Co.,Ltd. in 1972 as hon-shimeji and the production started in 1973 in Japan.[7] Now, several breeds are widely cultivated and sold fresh in markets.
Bunapi was selected from UV-irradiated buna-shimeji ('hokuto #8' x 'hokuto #12') and the breed was registered as 'hokuto shiro #1' by Hokto Corporation.[8][9]
These two species had been also sold as hon-shimeji.


Shimeji should always be cooked: it is not a good mushroom to serve raw due to a somewhat bitter taste, but the bitterness disappears completely upon cooking. The cooked mushroom has a pleasant, firm, slightly crunchy texture and a slightly nutty flavor. Cooking also makes this mushroom easier to digest. In stir-fried foods, as well as with wild game or seafood it is a good mushroom. Also it can be used in soups, stews and in sauces. When cooked alone, Shimeji mushrooms can be sautéed as a whole, including the stem or stalk (only the very end cut off), using a higher temperature or they can be slow roasted on a low temperature with a small amount of butter or cooking oil. Shimeji is used in soups, nabe and takikomi gohan.

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