November Seasonal Japanese Seafood


Salmon roe, pulled out of its sac and simply marinated in the sweet soy sauce of Kyushu, is irresistible this time of year. We love it so much it is on the table for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Crabs are also coming to market. Another highlight this time of year is fresh scallops and oysters, both best when raw.


Kawahagi may not be the most beautiful fish to look at, but when cut of its leathery skin, and served as sushi with its liver, it is heavenly.


Shirako, or milt, is often from cod fish, but Japanese chefs I speak with say that the best milt comes from fugu. Many people who try this love its creaminess and velvety texture. But, once you tell them what it is they sometimes change their mind. Here it is steamed and then served with a tart ponzu and grated daikon with chili.

Amadai  赤甘鯛  tilefish (Branchiostegus japonicas)                                       

Ankō 鮟鱇 monkfish (Lophiomus setigerus)                     

Asaba karei 浅羽鰈  rock sole (Pleuronectes mochigarei)                                 

Chidai   血鯛  crimson sea bream (Evynnis japonica)                     

 Hata はた grouper  (Epinephelus septemfasciatus)                                    

Hata hata 鰰 sailfin sandfish (Arctoscopus japonicus)               

Higedara ひげたらsnubnose brotula (Hoplobrotuda armata)   

Hi ika ひいか winter dwarf squid  (Nipponololig (Loliolus) japonica)     

Hirame 鮃 olive flounder (Paralichthys olivaceus)                 

Hotate 帆立貝 scallops (Patinopecten yessoensis)                  

Hon kamasu 本カマス barracuda (Sphyraena pinguis)             

Hon kawahagi 本皮剥 thread-sail filefish (Stephanolepis cirrhifer)   

Ibodai 疣鯛  Japanese butterfish (Psenopsis anomala)                  

Ise ebi 伊勢海老  Japanese spiny lobster (Panulirus japonicas)                   

Ishi karei いしかれい Stone flounder (kareius bicoloratus)                                

Itoyori イトヨリGolden threadfin bream (Nemipterus virgatus)         

Kanpachi  間八 amberjack (Seriola dumerili)                       

Kou ika こういか cuttlefish (Sepia (Platysepia) esculenta)                       

Kuro karei くろかれい black plaice (Pleuronectes obscurus)              

Kurumaebi 車海老   Japanese tiger prawn (Marsupenaeus japonicas)

Kaki 牡蠣 oyster (Crassostrea gigas)                                                         

Matara 真鱈 codfish (Gadus macrocephalus)                           

Masaba  真鯖   Pacific mackerel (Scomber japonicus)                 

Matsuba gani  松葉蟹 spiny crab (Hypothalassia armata)           

Mebachi maguro  目鉢鮪 bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus)         

Medai  目鯛  butterfish (Hyperoglyphe japonica)                                       

Meita karei  めいたかれいfine spotted flounder (Pleuronichthys cornutus)  

Mekajiki  かじき swordfish (Xiphias gladius)                      

Mongouika  もんごういか  cuttlefish (Sepia lycidas)                               

Mutsu  むつgnomefish  (Scombrops boops)                

Nametagarei  婆鰈  slime flounder (Microstomus achne)       

Sawara  さわら Spanish mackerel (Scomberomorus niphonius)

Sanma 秋刀魚  Pacific saury (Cololabis saira)             

Shiba ebi  芝海老  Shiba shrimp (Metapenaeus joyneri                   

Shiro ika  白烏賊swordtip squid (Loligo (Photololigo) edulis) or kensaki ika   

Shirosake  白鮭   chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta)                

Souda katsuo  宗田鰹bullet mackerel (Auxis rochei)                                  

Sujiko  筋子  chum salmon roe                              

Sukesou tara  助宗たら pollockTheragra chalcogramma)           

Suma katsuo  すまかつお  black skipjack (Euthynnus affinis)         

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

Tairagai  平貝 penshell (Atrina (Servatrina) pectinata)                 

Wakasagi  若細魚 Japanese smelt (Hypomesus nipponensis)                        

 Warasa  ワラサ  yellowtail  (Seriola quinqueradiata)            

Yoshikiri same  よしきりさめ blue shark (Prionace glauca)              

Watarigani  渡蟹   swimming crab (Portunus trituberculatus)                     

Zuwaigani  頭矮蟹  snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio)

16 Comments Add yours

  1. S Lloyd says:

    Excellent post, Yukari ans Shinji. I am planning to visit Tokyo in autumn and was curious about that season’s available seafood. Thanks

    1. We offer tours to markets in Tokyo if you are interested. Our contact information is in the “about Yukari & Shinji Sakamoto” section.

  2. S Lloyd says:

    Thanks. I’ll contact you directly as soon as I have all my reservations, flight confirmations, etc

    1. Hope to see you in Tokyo soon!

  3. Oh! To have fresh salmon roe at the breakfast table, what a luxury. Your simple yet explicit photos look great.

  4. Hi Yukari and Shinji Sakamot, great post you have here for seasonal seafoods, I love japanese foods, especially the japanese way of preparing the menu. I always dream of going to tokyo and experience authentic japanese seafoods, though there are lots of Japanese restaurant in our area, but I am very interested to know more about the seasonal seafood which I hardly find anywhere else in the US. Rest assured I will boomarked your blog to read more about your interesting topic whenever I have free time.

    1. Please do pick up a copy of Food Sake Tokyo, published by The Little Bookroom for much more of this. And, let us know when you come to Tokyo as we do tours of the local markets. Cheers, Yukari & Shinji

  5. Helen says:

    I have found some salmon milt in the market today – but cannot find any recipes for it, either on the internet or in my Shizuo Tsuji cook book. What would you recommend?

    1. Do you mean milt (shirako) or roe (eggs)? For milt, we usually steam in sake and serve with some ponzu. But, I am not familiar with salmon milt.

      For roe, gently remove the eggs from the sac and put in a glass jar. Add some soy sauce and put in the refrigerator overnight. Serve over hot rice.

      1. Helen says:

        It is shirako – and yes, we love the salmon roe (ikura). I bought it thinking it might be herring roe (which I don’t seem to be able to find here), but my translation app says its salmon milt from Hokkaido!

  6. Curious, do you have a photo? I wonder if you could upload a photo to this? Try steaming it in sake and serving it warm with ponzu. Ponzu is 1 part each of soy sauce, mirin, and some tart juice like yuzu or lemon if you can’t get your hands on ponzu.

    1. faringdon2 says:



      Trying this!

  7. At home we cook cod milt. At Tsukiji Market we often see milt from fugu (pufferfish).

  8. just sent you my email address. maybe you can email me the photo?

  9. Got the photos! Very cool.

    Grilled salmon shirako:

  10. But, I would prefer to steam it in sake and serve with ponzu. Serve it with a sake.

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