Fish roe

A photo of aka uni nigiri sushi
Red sea urchin (Aka uni)

Red sea urchin (Aka uni)

【Nigiri sushi: Gyoran】
What is Aka uni?
Aka uni is sea urchin caught in warm ocean areas. Its shell is 5-8 cm in diameter but the height is only 2-3 cm, giving the appearance that it has been slightly squashed. The spines are short, a full red-brown color but without the sharp tips. The spawning season is from October to November.

They share a habitat with the Murasaki uni so they often get caught with them. However, it lives in deep waters and is difficult to catch by free diving, making it a rare and expensive sea urchin. Besides, they can only be caught in limited areas such as Yura in Awaji Island, Iki and Hirado in Nagasaki, Hagi in Yamaguichi, and Karatsu in Saga. For this reason, the amount of sea urchin delivered to the Toyosu market is extremely small. Only high-end sushi restaurants and ryotei (Japanese-style restaurants) that have secured a route to have the sea urchin sent directly from the producing areas can serve it.

Its flavor is very elegant and its sweetness is light. It draws the line from the unique richness of sea urchins. One critic said that Yura's Aka uni tastes like cucumber. Indeed, it has such a nice aftertaste with little bitterness that it seems to have a cucumber flavor.

So when making nigiri sushi, sushi chefs place a few grains directly on top of the sushi rice to avoid the taste of nori. In any case, it is a rare sea urchin, so if you encounter it, you should eat it even if you ignore the price.

Also called Depressed sea urchin.

【Related contents】
What is uni sushi?

Why is it that sea urchin sushi can taste bitter?

List of Nimono, Gyoran and Others

(Revision date: January 8, 2024)

Main production area

Yamaguchi Nagasaki Hyougo

Famous production area

Iki Karatsu Yura