Sho-saiko-to is the most popular herbal medicine in Japan. We investigated the anti-tumor and anti-metastatic effects of Sho-saiko-to and its chemically defined ingredients on the primary skin melanoma that developed in a metallothionein-I (MT)/ret transgenic mouse line and on a melanoma cell line (Mel-ret), which was derived from a primary tumor developed in a MT/ret transgenic mouse. In vitro, Sho-saiko-to suppressed the growth of Mel-ret cells more strongly than any single ingredient of Sho-saiko-to, although baicalin as one of several ingredients tested also suppressed it significantly. In vivo, Sho-saiko-to (i) significantly (p < 0.02) prolonged the onset of tumor development (1.5 mo), (ii) definitely retarded the transition to malignancy, (iii) significantly decreased the incidence of distant metastasis to brain (p < 0.002), kidney (p < 0.05), and liver (p < 0.05) at the malignant stage, and (iv) significantly (p < 0.02) prolonged life span (2.6 mo). Moreover, Sho-saiko-to and baicalin down-regulated the matrix metalloproteinase-2 and -9 expression levels, and upregulated their inhibitor expression level in both the primary tumors and Mel-ret cells. In conclusion, Sho-saiko-to displayed anti-tumor and anti-metastatic effects on melanoma with regulation of the balance of matrix metalloproteinase and tissue inhibitor of the matrix metalloproteinase levels.