List of Shellfish (Kai)

Shellfish has been a traditional sushi topping started off with the origin of Edomae sushi. Its distinctive texture is fascinating, but the thing is, all kinds are expensive. As a sushi topping, it is placed between rich and light in flavor, and functions as a palate refresher.

The texture, flavor and fragrance differ greatly depending on the type and most people either love or hate Shellfish toppings.

A characteristic of the taste of shellfish is that it is both refreshing and rich. This is presumably due to succinic acid. It is known that if succinic acid is removed from the shellfish extract component, the umami of shellfish also disappears. However, the umami of shellfish is not due to succinic acid alone, but to the synergistic effects of amino acids such as glutamic acid, glycine, alanine, arginine, and betaine, which are present in the extract, and adenylic acid, a nucleic acid-related substance.

Kai is another topping type that has been eaten as Nigiri sushi since it was invented. Hamaguri is essentially a type of shellfish, but when in the Nigiri sushi world, it is generally lightly seared and then marinated in broth, so it is classified as Nimono.

*Japanese terms will be italicized on sushi ingredients page.


Agemakigai- Chinese razor clam

Akaawabi- Blacklip abalone

Akoyagai-Japanese pearl-oyster (Pinctada martensi (Dunker, 1880))

Akagai-Ark shell, Bloody clam (Anadara broughtonii (Schrenck, 1867))

Akaneawabi- Red abalone

Akanishi (Akanishigai)- Top shell, Rock shell, Rapa whelk (Rapana venosa (Valenciennes,1846))

Aoyagi (Bakagai)-Rediated trough-shell (Surf-clam)


Asari - Japanese clam, Baby clam, Manila clam, Japanese littleneck clam (Ruditapes philippinarum (Adams and Reeve,1850))

Atsuezobora- Whelk

Awabi (Kuroawabi)-Japanese abalone

Awabimodoki (Rokogai)- Chilean abalone

Azumanishiki- Scallop

Baigai-Japanese ivory-shell

Chousenbora-whelk (Neptunea arthritica cumingii (Bernardi, 1857))

Echubai (Shirobai)-Finely-striated buccinm (Buccinum striatissimum Sowerby,1899)

Ezoawabi-Ezo-abalone (Haliotis discus subsp. hannai Ino, 1953)

Ezobora (Matsubu)-Wheck (Ezo neptune)

Himeshakogai-Boring clam

Hioogi (Hiougigai)-Noble scallop (Mimachlamys nobilis (Reeve,1852))

Hokkigai-Sakhalin surf clam, Hen-clam (Pseudocardium sachalinense (Schrenck,1862))

Hotate-Common scallop, Giant ezo-scallop, Frill, Fan-shell (Mizuhopecten yessoensis (Jay, 1857))

Ishigakigai-Bering Sea cockle

Itayagai-Japanese scailop, Frill


Kaki (Magaki)-Oyster

Kagabai (Shirobai)-(Buccinum bayani Jousseaume,1883)

Kobashira-The adductor of bakagai shellfish (Rediated trough-shell)

Konakanishi-(Fusinus ferrugineus Kuroda & Habe,1961)



Kuroawabi-Japanese abalone (Haliotis discus subsp. discus)

Madakaawabi-Giant abalone (Haliotis madaka (Habe, 1977))

Megaiawabi-Disk abalone

Mirugai (Honmirugai)-Otter-shell, Keen’s gaper (Tresus keenae (Kuroda & Habe, 1950))

Nabaubagai-Surf clam

Namigai (shiromiru)-Japanese geoduck

Nihama (Hamaguri)-Common orient clam, Japanese hard clam, White clam (Meretrix lusoria (Röding, 1798))

Nakanishi-(Fusinus perplexus (A.Adams,1864))

Ooechubai (Shirobai)-(Buccinum tenuissimum Kuroda in Teramachi,1933)

Oomategai-Giant jacknife clam, Giant razor-shell

Oomizogai-Alaska razor, Dall’s razor clam



Rokogai (Awabimodoki)-Chilean abalone, Baranacle rock-shell (Concholepas concholepas (Bruguie, 1789))

Sarubougai-Half-crenated ark, Bloody clam (Anadara kagoshimensis (Tokunaga, 1906))

Satougai-Bloody clam

Sazae-Turban shell, Spiny top-shell (Turbo (Batillus) sazae H.Fukuda, 2017)

Shirogai (Manjugai, Saragai)-Northern great tellin

Tairagi (Tairagai)-Pen-shell (Fan-shell)

Tokobushi-Tokobushi abalone (Haliotis diversicolor Reeve, 1846)

Torigai-Egg-cockle, Heart-shell (Fulvia (Fulvia) mutica (Reeve, 1844))

Tubugai (Matsubu)-Ezo-neptune, Whelk, Winckle (Neptunea polycostata Scarlato,1952)

Usuhirawabi-Greenlip abalone

Yakougai-Great green turban

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Revision date: April 30, 2024

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List of Squid (Ika) and Octopus (Tako)

The Japanese love this strong umami coming out of its creepy features. These are sushi toppings that show their presence in your mouth.

There are over 450 types of Ika (squid) in the world and over 100 types just in the seawaters around Japan. Ika is essential to Japanese cuisine and is found in many recipes for home cooking. It is a representative of ingredients for common people that is both affordable and delicious. There are also many different types of Ika used as sushi toppings, and certain Ika are used during certain seasons, each with a unique flavor.

Tako (octopus) is a popular sushi topping at every sushi restaurant. However, preparing Tako from its raw state is very labor intensive. Some restaurants boil it, while others use “Sakura-ni.” Elaborate efforts are made at the restaurant in order to prepare a topping that can be bitten through and emit a delicious fragrance. Needless to say, when prepared raw, it is thoroughly kneaded by hand. It may be struck with the crest or wooden pestle of a kitchen knife, or boiled with roasted green tea, incorporating techniques from Kansai dishes. When Tako is prepared as Sakura-ni*, it is classified as Nimono.

*”Sakura-ni” refers to stewing octopus in sake, mirin and soy sauce to soften it, turning it into a shape that resembles cherry blossom (sakura) petals.

Japanese terms will be italicized on sushi ingredients page.

<Ika/Tako-Squid/ Octopus>

Aka ikaFlying squid (Ommastrephes bartramii (Lesueur, 1821))

Amerikaoo akaikaJumbo flying squid (Dosidicus gigas (Orbigny, 1835))

Aori ika-Bigfin reef squid

Be ika-Beka squid (Loliolus (Nipponololig) beka (Sasaki,1929))

Hotaru ika-Firefly squid

Hi ika (Jindow ika)-Japanese squid (Loliolus (Nipponololigo) japonica (Hoyle, 1885))

Iidako-Ocellated octopus (Octopus ocellatus Gray, 1849)

Kaminari ika (Mongou ika)-Ocellated cuttlefish

Kensaki ika (Shiroika)-Swordtip squid (Uroteuthis (Photololigo) edulis (Hoyle,1885))

Kobusime (Kubusime)-Gaint cuttlefish、Broadclub cuttlefish (Ascarosepion latimanus (Quoy & Gaimard, 1832))

Mizudako-North-pacific giant octpus

Shin ika-Baby cuttlefish

Sode ika (Aka ika)Rhomboid squid、Diamond squid (Thysanoteuthis rhombus Troschel, 1857)

Sumi ika (Kou ika)-Cuttlefish

Surume ika-Japanese common squid

Tako (Madako)-Octopus

Yari ika-Spear squid

Yoroppa kou ikaEuropean common cuttlefish (Sepia officinalis (Linnaeus, 1758))

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Revision date: April 13, 2024

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List of Silver-skinned fish (Hikarimono)

A photo of Hikarimono
Hikarimono is a name unique to the sushi industry, and as the name implies, it refers to fish with shiny surface skin.

Hikarimono (Silver-skinned fish) includes horse mackerel, mackerel, sardines, sillago, and gizzard shad, generally referred to as blue-backed fish. Hikarimono all have high-fat content. It is approximately 7% in gizzard shad and horse mackerel. It is about 16% in mackerel. The taste is heavy. Many of the fish in this category lose their freshness quickly, so the preparations differ greatly from restaurant to restaurant. They say that you can tell how well a restaurant is doing by which Hikarimono they serve. This may be why many restaurants make sure to work hard on their Hikarimono.

Tachiuo really does look like a sword from the outside, so it seems like it should be classified as Hikarimono, but it’s actually Shiromi. In the sushi restaurant sector, Hikarimono refers to sushi toppings for which Sujime is used in the preparations. Furthermore, there are chefs who classify Shima aji as Hikarimono when the silver skin is left on, and Shiromi when the skin is removed. There are many people finding it hard to eat but it is actually healthy and rich in nutritive value.

*Japanese terms will be italicized on sushi ingredients page.

<Hikarimono - Silver-skinned fish>

Aiburi-Blackbanded trevally (Seriolina nigrofasciata (Rüppell, 1829))

Aji (Maaji) - Japanese horse-mackerel

Akaaji-(Decapterus akaadsi Abe,1958)

Aogisu-Small-scale sillago (Sillago parvisquamis Gill, 1861)

Ayu - Ayu (Plecoglossus altivelis altivelis (Temminck and Schlegel, 1846))

Burimodoki-Pilot fish (Naucrates ductor (Linnaeus, 1758))

Chika- Smelt (Hypomesus japonicus (Brevoort, 1856))

Datsu-Pacific needlefish (Strongylura anastomella (Valenciennes, 1846))

Ebodai- Japanese butterfish

Etsu-Japanese grenadier anchovy (Coilia nasus Temminck & Schlegel, 1846)

Gingameaji-Big-eye trevally (Caranx sexfasciatus Quoy and Gaimard,1824)

Gomasaba- Spotted mackerel (Scomber australasicus Cuvier, 1832)

Hamadatsu-Flat needlefish (Ablennes hians (Valenciennes, 1846))

Hamo -Daggertooth pike conger

Hatahata - Japanese sandfish (Arctoscopus japonicus (Steindachner, 1881))

Hira-Chinese herring, Slender Shad (Ilisha elongata (Anonymous,1830))

Hiiragi-Spotnape Ponyfish (Nuchequula nuchalis (Temminck & Schlegel, 1845))

Ikekatsuo-Doubledotted queenfish (Scomberoides lysan (Forsskål, 1775))

Indookiaji-Sixband brown jack (Uraspis uraspis (Günther, 1860))

Itohkiaji-Giliated threadfish (Alectis ciliaris (Bloch,1788))

Iwashi - Sardine

Kagishimanigisu-Smallmouth argentine (Argentina kagoshimae Jordan & Snyder, 1902)

Kaiwari - Whitefin trevally

Kamasu (Akakamasu)-Barracuda (Sphyraena pinguis Günther, 1874)

Karafutoshishamo - Capellin, Lodde (Mallotus villosus (Müller, 1776))

Kasugo (Chidai, Kidai)-Baby Red sea-bream (Crimson sea-bream, Eellowback sea-bream)

Kibinago - Banded blue-sprat (Spratelloides gracilis (Temminck & Schlegel, 1846))

Kisu - Japanese whiting (Sillago japonica Temminck & Schlegel, 1843)

Kobanaji-Smallspotted dart (Trachinotus baillonii (Lacepède,1802))

Kohada - Gizzard shad

Kuroajimodoki-Black pomfret (Parastromateus niger (Bloch,1795))

KurohiraajiBlue trevally (Carangoides ferdau (Forsskål, 1775))

Kusayamoro-Mackerel scad (Decapterus macarellus (Cuvier, 1833))

Kyuriuo - Arctic smelt (Osmerus dentex Steindachner & Kner, 1870)

Okiaji-White tongued crevalle (Uraspis helvola (Forster, 1801))

Okizayori-Hound needlefish (Tylosurus crocodilus subsp. crocodilus)

Mamakari (Sappa) - Big-eye sardine (Sardinella zunasi (Bleeker, 1854))

Maruaji - Amberfish

Maruhiraaji-Coastal trevally (Carangoides coeruleopinnatus
(Rüppell, 1830))

Marukoban-Snubnose pompano (Trachinotus blochii (Lacepède,1802))

Minamiikekatsuo-Needlescaled queenfish (Scomberoides tol (Cuvier, 1832))

Moro-Cherootfish (Decapterus macrosoma Bleeker, 1851)

Muroaji - Amberstripe scad (Decapterus muroadsi (Temminck and Schlegel, 1844))

Nigisu - Deep-sea smelt (Glossanodon semifasciatus (Kishinouye, 1904))

Nishin - Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii Valenciennes, 1847)

Okihiiragi-Offshore ponyfish (Equulites rivulatus (Temminck & Schlegel, 1845))

Saba - Pacific mackerel

Sanma - Pacific saury

Sayori - Halfbeak

Seitakahiragi-Common ponyfish (Leiognathus equulus (Forsskål,1775))

Shinko - Baby Gizzard shad

Shirogisu-Japanese whiting (Sillago japonica Temminck & Schlegel, 1843)

Shishamo - Smelt, Shishamo smelt (Spirinchus lanceolatus (Hikita, 1913))

Sprat- European sprat (Sprattus sprattus (Linnaeus, 1758))

Tachiuo-Largehead hairtail , Cutlassfish, Scabbardfish (Trichiurus lepturus Linnaeus, 1758)

Taiseiyousaba-Atlantic mackerel (Scomber scombrus Linnaeus, 1758)

Tenjikuaji-Coachwhip trevally (Carangichthys oblongus (Cuvier, 1833))

Tenjikudatsu-Black-finned longtom (Tylosurus acus subsp. melanotus (Bleeker, 1850))

Tobiuo - Japanese flyingfish (Cypselurus agoo (Temminck and Schlegel, 1846))

Yoroiaji-Longfin trevally (Atropus armatus (Forsskål 1775))

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Revision date: June 14, 2024

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List of Red flesh fish (Akami)

Akami generally refers to red-colored meat like beef and fish meat. The typical Akami fish are tuna and bonito. Its fatty and rich taste gives you satisfaction like “This is the sushi”. The meat gets its red color from the high hemoglobin and myoglobin content specific to migratory fish. At a sushi restaurant, when you order Akami, you will be served tuna. The word Akami exists for tuna.

*Japanese terms will be italicized on sushi ingredients page.

<Akami-Red flesh fish>

Basho kajiki-Indo pacific sailfish (Istiophorus platypterus (Shaw, 1792))

Binnaga maguro-Albacore (Thunnus alalunga (Bonnaterre, 1788))

Gasutoro-Butterfly kingfish (Gasterochisma melampus Richardson,1845)

Hagatuo-Striped bonito (Sarda orientalis (Temminck and Schlegel, 1844))

Hirasouda-Frigate tuna (Auxis thazard thazard (Lacepède, 1800))

Hosogatsuo (Arotsunasu)-Slender tuna (Allothunnus fallaii Serventy, 1948)

Iso maguro-Dogtooth tuna, Scaleless tuna (Gymnosarda unicolor (Rüppell, 1838))

Katsuo-Bonito (Oceanic bonito, Striped tuna)

Kihada maguro-Yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares (Bonnaterre, 1788))

Kosinaga maguro- Longtail tuna (Thunnus tonggol (Bleeker, 1851))

Kurokawa kajiki (Kuro kajiki)-Indo pacific Blue marlin (Makaira nigricans Lacepède, 1802)

Maguro (Kuromaguro, Honmaguro, Shibi)-Bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis (Temminck and Schlegel,1844))

Makajiki-Striped marlin (Kajikia audax (Philippi, 1887))

Marusouda-Frigate mackerel (Auxis rochei subsp. rochei)

Mebachi maguro-Bigeye tuna (Thunnus obesus (Lowe, 1839))

Mejimaguro (Meji)-Young bluefin tuna (Thunnus orientalis (Temminck and Schlegel,1844))

Mekajiki-Swordfish (Xiphias gladius Linnaeus, 1758)

Minami maguro (Indo maguro)-Southernbluefin tuna (Thunnus maccoyii (Castelnau, 1872))

Shirokawa kajiki (Shiro kajiki)-Black marlin (Istiompax indica (Cuvier, 1832))

Suma (Yaito-gatsuo)-Wavyback skipjack, Eastern little tuna (Euthynnus affinis (Cantor, 1849))

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Revision date: April 24, 2023

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