February Seasonal Japanese Seafood 2月旬の魚

As it is cold throughout most of Japan, February is a wonderful time for hot pots (nabe). Monkfish (ankou) is one of Shinji’s favorite nabes. We always save the liver and serve it separately. It’s very easy to steam – see a simple recipe here. Wakasagi or shirauo are both lovely when lightly battered and deep-fried. As for sashimi, we love kinmedai, hirame, kanburi and tairagai. If you get a fresh kawahagi for sashimi, save the liver, mash it in a mortar and pestle, and add it to some ponzu for a creamy dipping sauce. Shijimi miso soup is a wonderful way to start any day. And sazae are perfect for grilling in their shells. Best of all may be all the succulent crabs that are in season like tarabagani and zuwaigani.

If you click on the Japanese name of the seafood you should be directed to a link with a photo.

Ankou – 鮟鱇 monkfish (Lophiomus setigerus)

Aoyagi –  青柳  surf clam (Mactra chinensis)

Buri – 鰤 Japanese amberjack (Seriola quinqueradiata)

Fugu – 真河豚 blowfish or pufferfish (Takifugu porphyreus)

Hamaguri – 浜栗  common Orient clam (Meretrix lusoria)

Hirame –  鮃 olive flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus)

Honmaguro – 本鮪 bluefin tuna (Thunus thynnus)

* also called kuromaguro

Ishigarei – 石鰈 stone flounder  (Kareius bicoloratus)

Itoyori – 糸縒鯛  golden threadfin-bream (Nemipterus virgatus)

Kaki – 牡蠣 oyster (Crassostrea gigas)

Kanburi – 寒鰤 winter Japanese amberjack (see buri) (Seriola quinqueradiata)

* The port of Himi in Toyama is famous for its kanburi.

Kasago – 笠子 scorpionfish (Sebastiscus marmoratus)

Kawahagi – 皮剥 thread-sail filefish  (Stephanolepis cirrhifer)

Kinki – 黄血魚 thornhead (Sebastolobus macrochir)

Kinmedai– 金目 (sometimes called kinme) splendid alfonsino (Beryx splendens)

Madai –  真鯛 seabream (Pagurus major)

Mutsu –  gnomefish (Scombrops boops)

Saba – 鯖  Pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus)

Sawara – 鰆  Japanese Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus niphonius)

Sazae – 栄螺  turban shell (Turbo cornutus)

Shijimi – 大和蜆 corbicula clams (Corbicula japonica)

Shirauo – 白魚 whitefish or ice goby (Salangichthys microdon)

Tairagai – 平貝  penshell (Atrina (Servatrina) pectinata)

Tara – 真鱈 codfish (Gadus macrocephalus)

Tarabagani – 鱈場蟹 Alaskan king crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus)

Umazurahagi – 馬面剥 filefish scraper (Thamnaconus modestus)

Wakasagi – 若細魚 Japanese smelt  (Hypomesus nipponensis)

Yari ika – 槍烏賊 spear squid (Loligo (Heterololigo) bleekeri)

Zuwaigani – 頭矮蟹  snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio)

January Japanese Seasonal Fruits Vegetables

Following is a list of seasonal fruits and vegetables in Japan this month. Root vegetables in particular are plentiful this time of year. Daikon is one of my favorites as it is can be used in so many dishes. It can be julienned for a salad, simmered and dressed with a sweet miso dressing, in soups, or grated and used as a garnish. I also love the sticky, slippery texture of nagaimo. It can be grated and served over hot rice with a splash of soy sauce, or I like to cook it like an omelet and serve it with some nori. (LINK) Fruit like strawberries and apples can be found in sweets and pastries.


Broccoli –

Cabbage –

Cauliflower –

Celery –

Daikon –

Eringi – eringi mushroom

Gobo – burdock root

Hakusai – Napa cabbage

Hoursensou – spinach

Jagaimo – potatoes

Kabu – turnips

Komatsuna – Japanese green (sometimes called mustard spinach) in turnip family

Mekyabettsu – Brussel sprouts

Mizuna – Japanese green (sometimes called potherb mustard)

Nagaimo – Japanese mountain yam

Nanohana – rapeseed flowers

Negi – Japanese leeks

Ninjin – carrots

Nira – garlic chives

Parsley –

Renkon – lotus root

Saradana – salad greens

Satsumaimo – Satsuma sweet potato

Seri – Japanese celery

Shungiku – chrysanthemum leaves

Yamatoimo – Yamato potato, similar to nagaimo

Yurine – lily root


Daidai – a type of orange

Ichigo – strawberry

Kinkan – kumquat

Lemon –

Navel orange –

Ponkan – a type of tangerine

Ringo – apple

Yuzu –

Antenna Shops in Ginza

updated 25 September 2017

If you are looking for jizake or shochu from a small producer or an artisanal miso the first place to check out are the antenna shops. Markets that specialize in regional products, usually from a specific prefecture. The Okinawa antenna shop in Ginza has a huge selection of awamori and the Miyazaki antenna shop in Shinjuku brings in a limited amount of premium shochu on the first of each month. Seafood, meat, and fresh produce as well are often sold. Some of the shops will have a restaurant or an eat-in corner. The Yamagata antenna shop has a branch of it’s famous Italian restaurant using Yamagata products.

Here is a list of antenna shops in Ginza, the area with the most number of shops. Here is a list of antenna shops in Nihonbashi.

Osaka Hyakkaten

Over 600 items and an eat-in corner with takoyaki and butaman.

Chiyoda-ku, Yurakucho 2-10-1, Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan 1F


10:00 – 22:00

Tokushima and Kagawa Tomoni Ichiba

Sanuki udon, somen, Tokushima ramen, sudachi, jizake, and more.

Chiyoda-ku, Yurakucho 2-10-1, Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan 1F


10:30 – 19:30

Hyogo Waku Waku Kan

Tako no kamaage, oden packs, Higashimaru udon, vegetables, and more.

Chiyoda-ku, Yurakucho 2-10-1, Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan B1


10:00 – 19:00

Iki Iki Toyama Kan

Over 800 items including masu sushi.

Chiyoda-ku, Yurakucho 2-10-1, Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan B1


10:00 – 19:00

Wakayama Kishukan

Over 50 types of umeboshi, jizake, and fruit.

Chiyoda-ku, Yurakucho 2-10-1, Tokyo Kotsu Kaikan B1


10:00 – 19:00

Iwate Ginka Plaza

Over 1,500 items, including a Koiwa soft cream corner.

Chuo-ku, Ginza 5-15-1, Nankai Tokyo Bldg. 1F


10:30 – 19:00

Gunma-chan Chi

Produce, sweets, and jizake with an event space on the 2nd floor.

Chuo-ku, Ginza 5-13-19, Duplex Ginza Tower 5/13


10:00 – 19:00

Oishii Yamagata Plaza

Jizake, fruits, vegetables, and an Italian restaurant incorporating Yamagata’s produce by star chef Masayuki Okuda at San Dan Delo.

Chuo-ku, Ginza 1-5-10, Ginza First Five Bldg.


10:00 – 20:00

Hiroshima Setouchi Tau

Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki sauce, popular momiji maple leaf sweet buns, oysters (frozen or in oil), Yukari red shiso furikake and two eat-in restaurants. 2nd floor for Hiroshima-style okonomiyaki and 1st floor for shiru-nashi ramen, a style popular in Hiroshima and harder to find in Tokyo.

Chuo-ku, Ginza 1-6-10


Kagoshima Yurakukan

A large selection of shochu, restaurant, and much more.

Chiyoda-ku, Yurakucho 1-6-4, Chiyoda Bldg. 1-3F


hours vary

Tottori Plaza

Rakkyo, nagaimo, seafood, Italian restaurant featuring Tottori products, and more than 1,500 items.

Minato-ku, Shinbashi 2-19-4 SNT Bldg.


10:00 – 21:00

Ginza Kumamoto Kan

Fruits and vegetable, seafood products, and more than 1,000 items. ASOBI Bar on the 2nd floor featuring Kumamoto shochu, basashi (horsemeat sashimi), and karashi renkon.

Chuo-ku, Ginza 5-3-16


11:00 – 20:00

ASOBI Bar 17:00 – 20:00

Marugoto Kochi

Sweets, jizake, and a restaurant on the 2nd floor.

Chuo-ku, Ginza 1-3-13, Ri-burekkusu Tower


hours vary

Okinawa Ginza Washita Shop

An impressive selection of awamori in the basement and fresh produce such as go-ya.

Chuo-ku, Ginza 1-3-9, Maruito Ginza Bldg.


10:30 – 20:00

Ekiben, Hokkaido, and Shimane Food Fairs in Tokyo

Amaebi Donburi

Amaebi Donburi

Today starts three food fairs in Tokyo. Get this amaebi donburi at the Hokkaido Food Fair at Tobu Ikebukuro (8th floor event space) running through January 24th.

Select from over 200 ekiben at Shinjuku Keio’s event also through January 24th.

Shimane Food Fair

Shimane Food Fair

At Shibuya Tokyu Toyoko Ten on the 8th floor is a Shimane Food Fair running through January 18th.

For more information about the depachika at these department stores, please see my list of my favorite depachika in Tokyo.

Maguronald まぐろナルド



With an awesome name like Maguronald, which sounds an awful like lot McDonald’s when pronounced in Japanese, this is definitely worth checking out. Maguro, or of course, tuna, is the specialty of this small 20 seat restaurant in Ginza. It is open for lunch and dinner and closed on Sunday and holidays. And affordable, budget about 1,000 or 2,000 JPY per person. Beer, shochu, and sake is served.

The menu is very simple, tuna zuke (sashimi marinated in soy) donburi (rice bowl), chutoro, sashimi, tatsuta-age (think fried chicken made from tuna), and tuna yakitori. There are some vegetable side dishes as well.

A lot of this is food we often eat at home, especially the sashimi and the tuna zuke donburi. It’s really comfort food and if you like tuna, you’ll love Maguronald.

No website yet, just a facebook page.


Chuo-ku, Ginza 4-13-3

Phone: 03-3546-0012


Sushi and Bento Fair at Ikebukuro Seibu 寿司・弁当とうまいもの会



Ikebukuro Seibu will host a Sushi, Bento, and Delicacies food fair from Friday, January 6 – 18, 2012 on the 7th floor. (Note that the event closes at 6 p.m. on both the 12th and 18th.)

Regional food and sake from throughout Japan are available. Highlights include sushi from Ginza Kyubey (Jan. 6-12) and ramen from Machida 69’N’ ROLL ONE (Jan 13-18). Both are among the best in their categories. The ramen should be worth visiting as Ikebukuro is much closer to the city than traipsing out to Machida.

A variety of sweets as well as sake and shochu.

The sales flier  for the event (in Japanese – but great photos).

My list of Tokyo’s best depachika.

Akita and Tohoku Food Fair at Shinjuku Odakyu

Nihonkai no Sachi Donburi

Nihonkai no Sachi Donburi

Now through Monday, January 9th at Shinjuku Odakyu on the 11th floor is the Akita-ken to Michinoku Bussanten food fair of products from Akita and Tohoku.

Highlights include the Nihonkai no Sachi donburi posted above from Aomori, seafood on the rice bowl include salmon, ikura, uni, and hotate. Also look for bouzushi or presed sushi of saba from Hachinohe port in Aomori.

Kumakichi Tsuyu Yakisoba

Kumakichi Tsuyu Yakisoba

From Aomori you’ll also find this Tsuyu Yakisoba from Kumakichi Ramen at the eat-in section.

I also like the nama wakame (fresh wakame) from Sanriku in Iwate. From Akita do look out for the jizake.

The event runs 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, except for on Monday when it closes at 7:00 p.m.

Shinjuku Odakyu is located at Shinjuku station at the Nishi-Guchi. See my list of Tokyo’s top ten depachika here.

January Japanese Seasonal Seafood 一月旬の魚




January Japanese Seasonal Seafood

The seafood in winter is rich with fat as the fish protects itself from the cold waters. Some sashimi eaten this time of year will be a bit oily as a result. As always, we love to have most seafood as sashimi when possible, in particular tairagai and yari ika. Shinji in particular has a soft spot for kanburi or winter buri from Himi port in Toyama. He loves it as sashimi but it is also good as teriyaki or in the classic dish buri daikon – simmered with daikon in a slightly sweet soy broth. Kinmedai is also lovely when simmered in a soy broth as nitsuke.

Aozakana, literally blue fish, are the fishy fish in the mackerel family like saba and sawara. Sawara can be marinated in a sweet Saikyo miso and grilled, the miso helps to cover some of the intense fish flavor. Saba is nice simmered in miso in a traditional dish preparation called misoni. Shime saba is the term for saba that has been marinated in a sweet rice vinegar, essentially pickling it. Finally, each January we usually have ankou nabe, a hot pot of monkfish. We save the liver to prepare it as ankimo, often called “foie gras of the sea”. It is simple to prepare, see the recipe here.

If you click on the name of the seafood in Japanese you should be directed to a photo of it.

Akagarei – 赤鰈 flathead flounder (Hippoglossoides dubius)

Amadai – 赤甘鯛 tilefish (Branchiostegus japonicus)

Ankou – 鮟鱇 monkfish (Lophiomus setigerus)

Asari – 浅利 littleneck clams (Ruditapes philippinarum)

Benizuwaigani楚蟹  red snow crab   (Chionoecetes japonicus)

Buri – 鰤 Japanese amberjack (Seriola quinqueradiata)

Chidai–   血鯛  crimson sea bream (Evynnis japonica)

Hamaguri – 浜栗  common Orient clam  (Meretrix lusoria)

Hira suzuki – 平鱸   blackfin Japanese seabass (Lateolabrax latus)

Honmaguro – 本鮪 bluefin tuna (Thunus thynnus)

Hoshigarei –  星鰈  spotted halibut (Verasper variegatus)

Kaki – 牡蠣 oyster (Crassostrea gigas)

Kanburi – 寒鰤 winter Japanese amberjack (see buri) (Seriola quinqueradiata)

* The port of Himi in Toyama is famous for its kanburi.

Kinmedai– 金目 (sometimes called kinme) splendid alfonsino (Beryx splendens)

Matsuba gani – 松葉蟹 spiny crab (Hypothalassia armata)

Matsukawa –  松皮鰈  barfin flounder (Verasper moseri)

Nishin – 鰊  Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii)

Oma honmaguro – 大間鮪 bluefin tuna from Oma in Aomori (see honmaguro)

Saba – 鯖  Pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus)

Sawara – 鰆  Japanese Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus niphonius)

Shijimi – 大和蜆 corbicula clams (Corbicula japonica)

Soudagatsuo– 騒多鰹  frigate mackerel  (Auxis thazard)

Surumeika –   鯣烏賊  Japanese flying squid (Todarodes pacificus)

Tairagai –  平貝  pen shell or fan shell (Atrina (Servatrina) pectinata)

Yanagi dako – 柳蛸 chestnut octopus (Octopus conispadiceus)

Yari ika – 槍烏賊 spear squid (Loligo (Heterololigo) bleekeri)