August Seasonal Japanese Seafood

Photo of anago tempura.

Some of my favorite seafood is in season this time of year, particularly unagi and anago. For unagi I love Nodaiwa and for anago, Tamai in Nihonbashi is a treat. Kamasu (barracuda) is lovely just salted and grilled. The meat is light and flakey. Kawahagi (thread-sail filefish) sashimi is light and delicate. If the fish is very fresh the liver can also be eaten. We love to mix the fresh liver with some soy sauce and dip the kawahagi sashimi into the creamy dip. Tachiuo (cutlassfish) is also very nice as sashimi as it too is a light whitefish. One of our favorite preparations of tachiuo sashimi is to mix it with a bit of aromatic sesame oil and salt.

Ainame 鮎並 fat greenling (Hexagrammos otakii)

Aka isaki 赤伊佐幾 Schlegel’s red bass (Caprodon schlegelii)

Akashita birame 赤舌鮃  red-tongued sole (Cynoglossus joyneri)

Awabi 鮑abalone (Haliotis sorenseni)

Ayu 鮎 sweetfish (Plecoglossus altivelis altivelis)

Benisake べにさけ 紅鮭 sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka)

Hamo  鱧pike eel or pike conger (Muraenesox cinereus)

Hiramasa 平政 yellowtail amberjack (Seriola lalandi)

Hoya 海鞘 sea squirt (Halocynthia roretzi)

Inada イナダ young Japanese amberjack (Seriola quinqueradiata)

Stages of buri: wakashi, inada, warasa, buri

Isaki 伊佐幾 chicken grunt  (Parapristipoma trilineatum)

Ishidai 石鯛  barred knifejaw (Oplegnathus fasciatus)

Ishimochi イシモチ nibe croaker (Nibea mitsukurii)

Iwana 日光岩魚 whitespotted char (Salvelinus leucomaenis pluvius)

Kamasu 大和叺 barracuda (Sphyraena japonica)

Kanpachi  間八 amberjack or yellowtail (Seriola dumerili)

Karei 鰈 littlemouth flounder (Pleuronectes yokohamae)

Katsuo 鰹  skipjack tuna or oceanic bonito (Katsuwonus pelamis)

Kawahagi 皮剥 thread-sail filefish (Stephanolepis cirrhifer)

Kensaki ika 剣先烏賊 swordtip squid (Loligo edulis)

Kijihata (Akahata) 雉羽太 red-spotted grouper (Epinephelus akaara)

Kisu 鱚 Japanese whiting (Sillago japonica)*or shirogisu

Kochi 鯒 bartail flathead (Platycephalus)

Koyari-ika槍烏賊  baby spear squid (Loligo bleekeri)

Ma-anago 真穴子 whitespotted conger (Conger myriaster)

Maiwashi 真鰯  Japanese sardine (Sardinops melanostictus)

Makogarei 真子鰈 marbled sole (Pleuronectes yokohamae)

Masaba 真鯖 Pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus)

Matsubu (Ezobora) まつぶ(えぞぼら Japanese neptune or whelk (Neptunea polycostata)

Mehikari  目光 greeneyes (Chlorophthalmus borealis)

Mejimaguro めじまぐろ young tuna (genus Thunnus)

Nijimasu 虹鱒 rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)

Oni-okoze  鬼虎魚 spiny devilfish (Inimicus japonicus)

Saba 鯖  Pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus)

Saragai 皿貝 Northern great tellin (Megangulus venulosa)

Shiira  しいら 鱪 dorado or mahi-mahi (Coryphaena hippurus)

Shima-aji  島鯵 striped jack or white trevally (Pseudocaranx dentex)

Shinko (Konoshiro) 鰶 dotted gizzard shad (Konosirus punctatus)

Surumei ika するめいか 鯣烏賊 Japanese common squid (or flying squid) (Todarodes pacificus)

Suzuki 鱸  Japanese sea perch (Lateolabrax japonicus)

Tachiuo 太刀魚 cutlassfish (Trichiurus lepturus)

Tobiuo 飛魚 Japanese flying fish (Cypselurus agoo)

Unagi 鰻 Japanese eel  (Anguilla japonica)

8 Comments Add yours

  1. svimonoff says:

    Thanks for this wonderful list with the included links. I have had Awabi prepared in a way whereby it literally melts in your mouth. Any recommendations for Awabi in the Tokyo area?

    1. yukarisakamoto says:

      Konnichiwa! The best awabi I’ve had was at Waketokuyama by chef Hiromitsu Nozaki. It’s one of his signature dishes. It’s in this blogpost (not mine) the fourth photo down. Amazing.分とく山/

      Cheers, Yukari

  2. Amazing resource and insights. I am headed to Tokyo/Kyoto the first part of September and I will bring this post printed in my travel bag. Thanks!

    1. yukarisakamoto says:

      Be sure to pick up my book, Food Sake Tokyo, as it is filled with great food finds and restaurants in Tokyo.

      1. Have it ordered! Thanks so much. Best, David

      2. Book is on the way from Amazon! Any tips on Kyoto food resources? Best, David

      3. Got the book and have been researching. Pulled together our itinerary. See my article at There is a shout out to you! Thanks!

  3. yukarisakamoto says:


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