November Seasonal Japanese Seafood



Autumn is a great time for Japanese seafood as a lot of the fish are rich with fat. This time of year we love sanma, both as sashimi, or simply salted and grilled. Katsuo done tataki-style, seared on the outside and rare on the inside, calls out for some shochu or nihonshu. And when it gets really cold, Shinji loves kanburi, or the winter buri (Japanese amberjack) rich with fat and as sashimi.

This list of November seafood is short as I don’t have a lot of time at the moment, but I do hope to update it later this month along with links to photo of the seafood.

Akagarei flathead flounder (Hippoglossoides dubius)

Ara – rock cod (Nuphon spinosus)

Buri – Japanese amberjack (Seriola quinqueradiata)

Chidai – crimson sea bream (Evynnis japonica)

Ginsake – coho salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch)

Hamadai – ruby snapper (Etelis coruscans)

Hokke – arabesque greenling (Pleurogrammus azonus)

Katsuo – bonito or skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis)

Kawahagi – thread-sail filefish (Stephanolepis cirrhifer)

Kurigani – helmet crab (Telmessus cheiragonus)

Medai – Japanese butterfish (Hyperoglyphe japonica)

Mishima Okoze – Japanese stargazer (Uranoscopus japonicus)

Mizudako – North Pacific giant octopus (Octopus dofleini)

Sanma – Pacific saury (Cololabis saira)

Shishamo – Japanese longfin smelt (Spirinchus lanceolatus)

Yanaginomai – yellow-body rockfish (Sebastes steindachneri)

Nihonbashi Takashimaya’s Aji Hyakusen Gourmet Food Fair 第32回 グルメのための味百選

Kyoto's Murakami Senmaizuke

Kyoto's Murakami Senmaizuke

It is that time of year again, my all-time favorite gourmet food fair at Nihonbashi Takashimaya. It is also very popular with the customers so I suggest coming early in the day as the event gets very crowded.

Takashimaya brings in the top restaurants and food purveyors from around the country twice a year for an amazing gourmet food fair, Aji Hyakusen, on the 8th floor of the Nihonbashi flagship store. It is at the event that I have been introduced to delicious mirin aged three years from Gifu, nutty sesame oil from Kyoto, and sublime pickles from Kyoto’s Murakami shop (see photo above).

The event runs from Wednesday, October 26th to Tuesday, November 1st. The last day the event closes at 6 p.m.

Nihonbashi Takashimaya

Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi 2-4-1

closest station: Nihonbashi, or about 10 minutes’ walk from Tokyo station’s Yaesu exit

Ebisu Tachinomi Q

Tachinomi Q

Tachinomi Q

Tachinomi interior

Tachinomi interior

I first came upon this great standing bar about five years ago when it first opened. It had great reviews for being cheap, with great food, and a fun environment. It was exactly that. This is not your typical izakaya with Japanese fare but includes many tapa-style bites. The menu includes home-cured bacon, escargot, smoked butter toast, pork simmered in balsamico, and deep-fried octopus. The drink menu is extensive, including cocktails and whisky, but I stick to wine or sangria as it seems to be the best match with the food. The bar serves seven wines by the glass and is it is a busy place, the bottles are usually fresh. It is only a few minutes’ walk from the station, so perfect to stop by and have a drink and a few small plates if you are in the area.


Shibuya-ku, Ebisu 4-4-2, Kuresuto Ebisu 1F


closed Sunday and holidays

17:00 – 4:00 a.m.

Support Tohoku – Kessenuma Shop in Ginza

Kessenuma Shop

Kessenuma Shop

Antenna shops showcase food and other products from a certain area, usually a prefecture in Japan. I love to shop at antenna shops for hard-t0-find shochu, sake, regional seafood, and other items like miso. It is a good place to pick up omiyage for friends, or things for yourself.

Recently in Ginza, across the street from the Sony building, a shop featuring the food of Kesenuma, in Miyagi prefecture. A restaurant on the second floor is scheduled to open from November 3rd. Tuna and sanma are two seafood that Kesenuma is known for so look for these, and much more, at the restaurant. Kesenuma is a big seafood port that was hit by the tsunami.  The space for the shop was offered to the city of Kesenuma rent-free and the shop is expected to remain open until August 2012.

The Asahi newspaper reports that other cities that have been affected, like Hachinohe, Kamaishi, Ishinomaki, and Iwaki, may also be participating in the antenna shop.

Chuo-ku, Ginza 5-2-1

Hokkaido Food Festival at Nihonbashi Takashimaya

Now through Monday, October 10th, at Nihonbashi Takashimaya  on the 8th floor, is a great Hokkaido Food Festival. Highlights include pop-up restaurants serving sushi from Hokkaido seafood like ikura, uni, and crab, local ramen, and grilled pork over rice. Lots of sweets, seafood, and cheese. Check out this promotional flyer for photos of some of the many foods for sale.

The event ends at 6 p.m. on Monday, which is a national holiday.

Tuscan Food Fair at Shinjuku Isetan

prosciutto pizza

prosciutto pizza

Toscana wine

Toscana wine

Now through Monday, October 10th, at Shinjuku Isetan on the 6th floor, is a food festival promoting the great food and wine of Tuscany. From pizza to gelato to wine, there is a wide variety of products available. Note that the event ends at 6 p.m. on Monday.