A photo of sayori nigiri
Japanese halfbeak (Sayori)

Japanese halfbeak (Sayori)

【Nigiri sushi: Hikarimono
What is Sayori?
Sayori can be found on all coasts in Japan and live on the surface layer of both inner bays and open seas. Sayori isn’t as blue as saba or aji, but it does have a blue tint to it, so it is considered a ‘hikarimono’ sushi topping.

While the imports from South Korea are increasing, the flavor is impeccable. It is used at conveyor belt sushi restaurants. While the imports from South Korea are increasing, the flavor can’t be called good. It is used at conveyor belt sushi restaurants. When Sayori meat has a cloudiness to it, it means it’s a frozen import from China.

What does Sayori (Japanese halfbeak) nigiri sushi taste like?
Sayori has been long loved by the Japanese as an ingredient in Edomae sushi, and its appearance ushers in the start of spring. Beautiful flesh with light flavor and distinctive aftertaste. Used to be served after vinegared and salted in order to get rid of the fishy smell but nowadays it is served raw. Sweet oboro flakes are put in between shari and fish. Sayori that exceed 30 cm in length are called “Kannuki” and are valued as sashimi for the rarity, but sushi chefs prefer the smaller size (katamizuke) that is made into sushi.

Some sushi chefs prefer Sayori Kobujime. Compared to white fish such as Hirame, Sayori has a bitterness and a strong flavor characteristic of blue-back fish. Therefore, instead of transferring the strong umami of kombu, it should only be subtle. This is the way to bring out the "Sayori" character of the fish.

If a sushi chef wants to transfer the strong flavor of kombu to Hirame, he should use a new kombu, but if he wants to dehydrate it lightly like Sayori, he should use kombu that has been used for Kobujime.

Also called Japanese needlefish.

【Substitute fish】
Argentinian silverside: Odontesthes bonariensis (Valenciennes, 1835)
Southern garfish: Hyporhamphus melanochir (Valenciennes, 1847)

・Internal organs of the Japanese halfbeak are all black and have a strong smell. Without taking them off carefully during a preparation, it would reduce the deliciousness by half. By the way "someone who is like a Japanese halfbeak" is used to describe someone who is blackhearted contrary to how he looks.

・There are certain toppings that require detailed work to prepare called “Saiku Sushi”, and one of the most common is Japanese halfbeak (Sayori). The beautiful pattern on the surface of the skin and knots are made for rolling. It is one of the most attractive of the silver-skinned fish.

【Related contents】
What is the difference between denbu and oboro?


List of Silver-skinned fish (Hikarimono)

(Revision date: May 24, 2024)

Main production area

Chiba Ishikawa Kagawa Hiroshima

Famous production area

Takeoka Shichigahama Awaji Island


Winter-Early spring