Seasonality, or the use of fresh, seasonal ingredients, is very important in Japanese cuisine and culture. Shun is a Japanese word referring to seasonal ingredients as well as the time of year when a certain food is at its freshest and most flavorful. By following harvest times, produce is utilized when it’s at its peak.
Shun ingredients are used for kaiseki, or kaiseki-ryōri, a traditional, multi-course meal served in Japan. Originally enjoyed only by the noble classes, kaiseki first consisted of foods like meshi (cooked/steamed rice) and shiru (soup). These were meant to warm the stomach before saké and sashimi were served.