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)

Chocolate Paradise 2012 at Ikebukuro Seibu チョコレートパラダイス2012


Sadaharu Aoki

Sadaharu Aoki

Starting today through Tuesday, February 14th, Seibu Ikebukuro is hosting a Chocolate Paradise on the 7th floor of it’s south tower.

Many of the famous chocolatiers are showcasing their sweets here, including Payard, Pierre Herme, Pierre Marcolini, and Sadaharu Aoki (see photo above).

* Note that the event closes at 6 p.m. on February 14th.

Fukui Food Fair at Shinjuku Keio 第16回 福井県「越前・若狭」 の物産と観光展

Nihonkai no Sachi

Nihonkai no Sachi

Today through Tuesday, January 31, 2012, Shinjuku Keio department store is holding a Fukui Food Fair on the 7th floor. Highlights include seafood from the Sea of Japan including kanburi donburi, zuwaigani, saba oshizushi, uni, fugu sashimi, and the famous Echizen Gani.

Echizen Gani

Echizen Gani

*Note that the event closes at 5 p.m. on the final day, January 31.

For more information

Salon du Chocolat at Shinjuku Isetan

It’s that time of year again. As we approach Valentine’s Day many department stores host chocolate food fairs. The season’s first one is Shinjuku Isetan’s Salon du Chocolat. The tenth year for the event at Isetan so they have pulled out all of the stops and are hosting many famous chocolatiers, both Japanese and European.

Jean-Charles Rochoux has an interesting collection called “Tsukiji” that includes a sansho flavored praline. Alsatian Christine Ferber has ganaches filled with her signature confitures. As well there are the perennial favorites like Jean-Paul Hevin and Henri LeRoux.

Shinjuku Isetan, 6th floor

Wednesday, January 25 – Monday, January 30th.

The event closes at 6 p.m. on January 30th.

*Note that these events can become very packed so go early and try to avoid the weekends if you can.

For more information on Shinjuku Isetan and my other favorite depachika in the city, click here.

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 –

Aji Hyakusen at Shinjuku Takashimaya 新宿高島屋の味百選

Edo-Ko Pudding

Edo-Ko Pudding

This is hands down my favorite food fair of the year. Aji Hyakusen by Takashimaya features the best food purveyors and restaurants from around the country. This fair at Shinjuku Takashimaya on the 11th floor starts today and runs through next Wednesday, the 25th (ending early this day).

Highlights include Edo famous shops such as Ginza Sushiko Sushi, Kanda Matsuya Soba, Ningyocho Tamahide Oyakodon, and Asakusa Daikokuya Ebi Tempura.

Look for the Edo-Ko Pudding (photo above) from Nihonbashi Yukari’s Kimio Nonaga made with eggs from Tokyo. Pickles and wagashi from Kyoto, seafood products from all over Japan, and I like to stock up my pantry with mirin, sesame oil, and other staples.

This list includes the address for Takashimaya in Shinjuku and other popular depachika in the city.

Note that this is the Shinjuku Takashimaya and not the Nihonbashi Takashimaya (which will host the Aji Hyakusen later in the year).

Nagasaki Food Fair at Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi 日本橋三越長崎展

Nagasaki Champon

Nagasaki Champon

Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi will host a Nagasaki Food Fair from Wednesday, January 18th, 2012 to Tuesday, January 23rd on the 7th floor. Highlights include an eat-in counter with Nagasaki Champon (see photo), as well as castella, suigyoza, himono, and shochu.

Here is my list of Tokyo’s top depachika, which includes the address for Nihonbashi Mitsukoshi.

Hokkaido Food Fair at Shinjuku Odakyu 新宿小田急北海道展

Kinotoya Cheese Tart

Kinotoya Cheese Tart

Starting today through January 31 is Shinjuku Odakyu’s Hokkaido Food Fair. The event is on the 11th floor of Odakyu department store. It is broken up into two weeks so the event will close at 5 p.m. on the 24th and the 31st, otherwise until 8 p.m. all days.

Ikura, Kani, and Uni Donburi

Ikura, Kani, and Uni Donburi

Hokkaido is known for so many food products including ramen and sushi, both of which will be available at eat-in counters so go for lunch or dinner. Our favorite seafood such as uni, kani, and ikura as well as ika (squid) stuffed with rice and simmered in a soy broth (ikameshi). Other things to look for include sweets, such as the Kinotoya cheese tart (photo above), ROYCE chocolate covered potato chips, and Marusei Butter Sandwiches.

Ika Meshi

Ika Meshi

Antenna Shops in Ginza

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

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.