Walk into any izakaya bar, yakitori or udon joint, sit yourself down and you’ll almost always find shichimi (“seven flavors”) on the table.

Although the foundation of shichimi is tōgarashi (chili pepper), as the seven in its name suggests, there’s six other elements to the mix, the ratios of which depends entirely on who is putting it together. As a general rule, there’s always sanshō (“Japanese pepper,” but really a member of the citrus family), kurogoma (black sesame seeds), chinpi (dried mikan orange peel) and asanomi (hemp seeds). Other common add-ins include aojiso (green perilla), shiso (regular perilla), shirogoma (white sesame seeds), keshitsubu (poppy seeds), aonori (green laver seaweed) and shōga (ginger).

The inclusion of hemp seeds might surprise you, given Japan’s strict drug laws — even possessing a small amount of cannabis can land you up to five years in prison. Nevertheless, the seed of the cannabis plant finds itself in shichimi.