June Seasonal Japanese Seafood


The waters are warming up around Japan and many of the fish coming to market now are lean like katsuo. Here is a sashimi platter at our home, Izakaya Sakamoto. The big fish in the back is Tokyo Bay aji, iwashi, lean katsuo, kisu, and shiriyake-ika.


This tsubugai sashimi was served at a izakaya specializing in shōchū, Bettako. One of the joys of eating sashimi in Japan is the wide variety of shellfish. Tsubugai has a rich texture. Here it is served with some grated daikon, julienned myōga, and green onions.

Taste of TohokuAt a recent class at Elizabeth Andoh’s A Taste of Culture, we made a full meal from her latest collection of recipes, Kibō Recipes and Stories from Japan’s Tohoku. The rice dish is made with tokijake (chum salmon) and ikura.


Young surumeika are just now coming into the market. They are very soft and tender. You can eat it as sashimi without peeling the skin. Here we had it barbecued. It is stuffed with its innards and legs and simply grilled.


This is a sashimi platter we made on June 1st. Shinji’s father went fishing that morning in Tokyo Bay and all of the seafood, except for the Hokkaido scallops in the middle, were caught in the waters near Tokyo. This sashimi is even fresher than what customers are eating at Tsukiji Market sushi shops. Here we have aji, kochi, madako, and kisu.DSCN6299

Also, from Tokyo Bay, is this beautiful saba. Pacific mackerel is often cured in vinegar and served as shime-saba. It’s not often seen like this, but was amazing. Not as fishy as we associate with mackerel. We served it with julienned pickled ginger, myōga, and shiso and dressed it with a citrusy ponzu.

Another fish in season right now is anago. There is a restaurant in Nihonbashi that specializes in anago. A visit to Tamai, which is just behind Nihonbashi Takashimaya, is a treat, especially this time of year.

Ainame  鮎魚女  Fat greenling (Hexagrammos otakii)

Akagai 赤貝   Ark shell (Scapharca broughtonii)

Amaebi 甘海老 Pink shrimp (Pandalus eous)

Aoyagi   青柳   Surf clam (Mactra chinensis) 

Asari  浅利   Japanese littleneck clam (Ruditapes philippinarum)

Ayu      Ayu or sweet fish (Plecoglossus altivelis)

Chidai   血鯛   Crimson sea bream (Evynnis japonica)

Ginzake 銀鮭   Silver (Coho) salmon (Oncorhynchus kisuts)

Hamo 鱧 Pike conger  (Muraenesox cinereus)

Hiramasa 平政 Giant amberjack (Seriola lalandi)  

Hoya  ホヤ   Sea squirt (Ascidiacea) 

Isaki 伊佐木 Threeline grunt (Parapristipoma trilineatum)

Ishigarei 石鰈 Stone flounder (Kareius bicoloratus)

Katsuo      Skipjack tuna or oceanic bonito (Katsuwonus pelamis) 

Karauni   殻雲丹   Sea urchin (Anthocidaris crassispina)

Kinki 黄血魚   Thornyhead (Sebastolobus macrochir)

Kinmedai 金目鯛   Splendid alfonsino (Beryx splendens)

Kisu キス Sillago (Sillago japonica)

Kochi 鯒 Flathead (Platycephalus indicus)  

Ma-aji  真鯵   Horse mackerel (Trachurus japonicas)

Ma-anago 真穴子 Conger eel (Conger myriaster) is a salt-water eel

Madako真蛸   Octopus   (Octopus vulgaris)

Maiwashi 真鰯 Sardine (Sardinops melanostictus)

Makokarei   真子鰈  Marbled flounder (Pleuronectes yokohamae)

Mebachi maguro  目鉢   Bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus)

Mebaru 目張   rockfish (Sebastes inermis)

Minami maguro 南鮪 Southern bluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii)

Mirugai  海松食   geoduck  (Tresus keenae) 

Mongouika紋甲烏賊   Kisslip cuttlefish (Sepia lycidas)

Okoze 虎魚   Scorpion fish (Inimicus japonicus)

Saruebi 猿海老  Southern rough shrimp  (Trachysalambria curvirostris)

Sazae   栄螺   Turban shell (Turbo cornutus)

Shako   蝦蛄   Mantis shrimp (Oratosquilla oratoria)

Shiiraシイラ Mahi-mahi (Coryphaena hippurus)

Shiroika 白烏賊 Swordtip squid (Photololigo edulis)

Shitabirame舌平目 Red tongue sole (Cynoglossus joyneri)

Surume ikaスルメイカ  Japanese flying squid (Todarodes pacificus)

Suzuki 鱸 Japanese seabass (Lateolabrax japonicus)

Tachiuo   太刀魚   Belt fish or Largehead hairtail (Trichiurus lepturus)

Tokisake   時鮭   Young chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta)

Torigai   鳥貝   Cockle (Fulvia mutica)

Tsubugai   螺貝   Whelk (Buccinum undatum)


3 Comments Add yours

  1. What gorgeous plating and photographs, Yukari. Utterly exquisite!

  2. Arigato! Making you hungry to come back to Tokyo for more? 🙂

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