Yuzu Essential Oil

Yuzu (Citrus junos) is a citrus fruit indigenous to Japan, with a unique taste and fragrance that has been an integral part of Japanese society for more than a millennium. Yuzu Essential Oil is used in both the flavour and fragrance industries. Yuzu has recently become trendy in Western gourmet circles, but has long been renowned in aromatherapy as a premier essential oil. In perfumery Yuzu Essential Oil is considered to have considerable staying power in a blend, but is still regarded as a Top Note.

Hinoki Essential Oil

Hinoki (Chamaecyparis obtusa) is a cypress species indigenous to Japan, prized as a timber for both construction and furniture-making. Unlike other wood oils such as juniper and red cedar, Hinoki oil is considered to be gentle on the skin. Hinoki has relaxing and decongestant effects, helping to relieve tension and stress. The oil’s sensual woody notes tend to make it universally popular in products for both men and women. In Japan it is used as a fragrance in soaps and shampoos, and in bath and odour elimination products.

Ecology Shimanto

Ecology Shimanto is the largest producer of distilled Yuzu Essential Oil and Hinoki Essential Oil in Japan. Incorporated in 1998 in the heart of the Yuzu-growing region, surrounded by mountains abundant with Hinoki, Ecology Shimanto’s primary mission was and remains to develop employment activities for young people in the area, to turn the tide against urban flight. The Shimanto River is often called “the last pristine river in Japan”, and Kochi Prefecture “the capital of Yuzu”.


Nicoya is a Japanese corporation acting as Ecology Shimanto’s sole exporter, handling all documentation, shipping and financial transactions. Our standard export packaging unit is a 5-kg UN alubottle, our standard shipping unit is a double-walled cardboard box containing 2 x 5-kg UN alubottles. Larger size packaging (eg. 180-kg drums) are available upon request. We would be pleased to quote you and provide samples on request.



Yuzu is a citrus fruit cultivated by farmers, who harvest it each Winter. The harvested Yuzu fruit is either sold as fresh produce or to juicing companies to make Yuzu juice, vinegar or ponzu. After juicing the Yuzu peel remains, and is sold to condiment makers (eg. Yuzu marmalade, Yuzu chili jam) or essential oil producers.

Yuzu Essential Oil Production

Ecologie Shimanto produces Yuzu essential oil by vacuum steam distillation, which produces an oil superior to those produced by solvent extraction or cold pressing.  Yuzu Peel is grated and the resulting slurry is then distilled under vacuum, which reduces the boiling point to 60°C; this protects the delicate aromatics in the oil. When distilling Yuzu Essential Oil roughly 300 kg of grated Yuzu Peel are required to make just 2 kg of Yuzu Essential Oil, a lower yield than solvent extraction, but higher than cold-pressing. Distilled Yuzu Essential Oil has a lighter and fresher fragrance than oils produced by the other two methods, and is considered to have a longer shelflife as well.


From its inception Ecology Shimanto has been dedicated to ecologically responsible and sustainable business practices. In addition to the fact that the primary raw material of Yuzu Essential Oil is a by-product of Yuzu juicing, namely the peel, all aspects of production are carefully designed for sustainability.



During the war years and immediate post-war period Japan’s forests were horrendously over-logged, and fast-growing species such as Hinoki were used for reforestation. The government is now encouraging culling Hinoki, and replacing it with a wide variety of largely deciduous species, to restore the original biodiversity and beauty to the forests.

Hinoki Essential Oil Production

For a single batch of Hinoki Essential Oil, 200 kg of Hinoki wood chips are placed in a steam distillation unit specially designed for timber, producing roughly 3 kg of oil in one production run.


Ecology Shimanto has a close relationship with a nearby timber mill, and while Hinoki logs are sometimes still used as the raw material, increasingly Hinoki waste from the sawmill is used, and it is hoped that this will become the sole source of raw material in the near future. It should be mentioned that Hinoki is categorized as a near endangered species, but this is in reference to old growth Hinoki, of which very little is left. The Hinoki now being culled under the auspices of the Japanese government is plantation Hinoki, and is the raw material used for Ecologie Shimanto’s Hinoki Essential Oil.

Fun Facts

The Arithmetic of Yuzu Essential Oil

A single 3-hour batch run requires 300 kg of Yuzu Peel and produces ~2 kg of Yuzu Essential Oil, so it takes about 150 kg of Yuzu Peel to produce 1 kg of Yuzu EO. More than 2,000 pieces of Yuzu fruit are needed to produce 150 kg of Yuzu Peel.

The Stupid Tree

Farmers sometimes refer to Yuzu as the “stupid tree”, as one has to be really stupid to plant it- given that it takes some 18 years to bear its first fruit.

The Ugly Fruit

Yuzu is ofter referred to in Japan as the “ugly fruit”, referring to its asymmetric shape and bumpy, scarred skin. Normally fruit in such condition would be rejected by Japanese fresh groceries and supermarkets, but ALL Yuzu fruit looks like this, and its juice is prized, so it has become accepted despite its appearance. Roughly 60% of Yuzu fruit is sold fresh, and 40% is juiced.

Family Farms

Almost all Yuzu Fruit is grown in orchards on family farms. The average age of a farmer in Japan is 68, and many have part-time jobs outside of farming to support their income.

The Freshest Possible

Our Yuzu Essential Oil production is done against purchase order, so the oil we ship has generally been produced within the previous few weeks (depending on size of shipment).


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