Outside of Asia this plant is referred to as "sansho," "Szechwan pepper," "Chinese pepper," "Japanese pepper," "aniseed pepper," "Spice pepper," "Chinese prickly-ash," "Fagara," "Nepal pepper," "Indonesian lemon pepper," and others, sometimes referring to specific species within this group, since this plant is not well known enough in the West to have an established name.
In Japan the dried and powdered leaves of sansho are used to make noodle dishes and soups mildly hot and fragrant. The whole fresh leaves, 木の芽 kinome, are used to flavour vegetables, especially bamboo shoots, and to decorate soups. Typically the young shoots are used in this way, giving an aromatic lemony flavour to food. They are used to denote spring seasonality in food. The buds, seeds, flowers, and hulls are also used.
Sansho peppercorns are one of the traditional ingredients in the Chinese spice mixture five-spice powder as well as shichimi togarashi, a Japanese seven-flavour seasoning.