The Exceptional Japanese Food in Season

Since there are four distinct seasons in Japan, many locals tend to enjoy the food that can be seen only in the certain time of the year.  There is a Japanese word they often use to express the food that is in season called "shun".  The "shun" dishes are not only fresh and delicious, but also considered the valuable gift from the great nature that changes from time to time.  For that reason, many people in Japan show great appreciation towards all living things in transition, which is probably why they still keep the custom through the ages to express the gratitude before the meal by saying "Itadakimasu" which generally means "thank you for letting us take your lives".  It is very important for the Japanese to eat along with the transition and the restaurants to serve the best dishes of the most “shun” time.  

Picrumb has listed below to give you the idea of the "shun" dishes in each month.  It may be helpful to know the exceptional food in season before you order something unseasonable at the sushi restaurants.  



Akagai (あかがい) - ark shell

Ankou (あんこう) - anglerfish

Ama ebi (あまえび) - northern shrimp

Hamachi (はまち) - young yellowtail

Iidako (イイダコ) - ocellated octopus

Kinmedai (きんめだい) - red snapper

Yari ika (ヤリイカ) - spear squid

Kohada (こはだ(このしろ)) - medium‐sized gizzard shad

Ise ebi (いせえび) - lobster

Sawara (さわら) - Japanese Spanish mackerel

Kaki (かき) - oyster

Tara (たら) - codfish

Zuwai gani (ずわいがに) - snow crab

Hirame (ひらめ) - flatfish

Taraba gani (タラバガニ) - red king crab

Buri (ぶり) - yellowtail

Kegani (けがに) - hair crab

Houbou (ほうぼう) - gurnard 

Shijimi (しじみ) - shijimi clam

Bora (ぼら) - striped mullet

Nori (のり) - seaweed

Wakasagi (わかさぎ) - pond smelt

Hotate (ほたて) - Japanese scallop


Aoyagi (あおやぎ) - trough shell

Nori (のり) - seaweed  

Akagai (あかがい) - ark shell

Hamaguri (はまぐり) - clam  

Asari (あさり) - asari clam

Ankou (あんこう) - anglerfish  

Ama ebi (あまえび) - northern shrimp

Kinmedai (きんめだい) - red snapper

Iidako (イイダコ) - ocellated octopus

Sawara (さわら) - Japanese Spanish mackerel

Yari ika (ヤリイカ) - spear squid

Shirauo (しらうお) - icefish  

Kaki (かき) - oyster

Tai (たい) - Sea bream  

Zuwai gani (ずわいがに) - snow crab

Hirame (ひらめ) - flatfish  

Taraba gani (タラバガニ) - red king crab

Houbou (ほうぼう) - gurnard  

Shijimi (しじみ) - shijimi clam

Wakasagi (わかさぎ) - pond smelt


Aoyagi (あおやぎ) - trough shell

Hijiki (ひじき) - hijiki (a kind of edible seaweed)

Akagai (あかがい) - ark shell

Wakame (わかめ) - wakame (a kind of seaweed)

Asari (あさり) - asari clam

Sayori (さより) - halfbeak  

Iidako (イイダコ) - ocellated octopus

Sawara (さわら) - Japanese Spanish mackerel

Yari ika (ヤリイカ) - spear squid

Shirauo (しらうお) - icefish  

Kaki (かき) - oyster

Shirasu (しらす) - whitebait  

Kazunoko (かずのこ) - herring roe

Tai (たい) - Sea bream  

Zuwai gani (ずわいがに) - snow crab

Nishin (にしん) - herring  

Hamaguri (はまぐり) - clam

Houbou (ほうぼう) - gurnard  

Wakasagi (わかさぎ) - pond smelt


Aoyagi (あおやぎ) - trough shell

Mozuku (もずく) - mozuku seaweed seasoned with vinegar

Asari (あさり) - asari clam

Wakame (わかめ) - wakame (a kind of seaweed)

Kou ika (コウイカ) - golden cuttlefish

Hijiki (ひじき) - hijiki (a kind of edible seaweed)

Kaki (かき) - oyster

Sawara (さわら) - Japanese Spanish mackerel

Kazunoko (かずのこ) - herring roe

Shirauo (しらうお) - icefish  

Kegani (けがに) - hair crab

Shirasu (しらす) - whitebait  

Tori gai (とりがい) - cockle

Tai (たい) - Sea bream  

Hotaru ika (ほたるいか) - firefly squid

Nishin (にしん) - herring  

Madako (まだこ) - common octopus

Mebaru (めばる) - black rockfish  

Sayori (さより) - halfbeak


May

Aori ika (アオリイカ) - bigfin reef squid

Mozuku (もずく) - mozuku seaweed seasoned with vinegar

Kou ika (コウイカ) - golden cuttlefish

Wakame (わかめ) - wakame (a kind of seaweed)

Uni (ウニ) - sea urchin

Aji (あじ) - horse mackerel  

Kegani (けがに) - hair crab

Isaki (いさき) - grunt  

Sazae (さざえ) - a turban shell

Katsuo (かつお) - bonito  

Tori gai (とりがい) - cockle

Kibinago (きびなご) - silver-stripe round herring

Hotaru ika (ほたるいか) - firefly squid

Sawara (さわら) - Japanese Spanish mackerel

Madako (まだこ) - common octopus

Shirasu (しらす) - whitebait  

Mebaru (めばる) - black rockfish


Aori ika (アオリイカ) - bigfin reef squid

Mozuku (もずく) - mozuku seaweed seasoned with vinegar

Kou ika (コウイカ) - golden cuttlefish

Surume Ika (スルメイカ) - Japanese common squid

Uni (ウニ) - sea urchin

Kajiki Maguro (かじきまぐろ) - marlin  

Kuruma ebi (くるまえび) - kuruma prawn

Katsuo (かつお) - bonito  

Kegani (けがに) - hair crab

Kamasu (かます) - barracuda  

Sazae (さざえ) - a turban shell

Kawahagi (かわはぎ) - filefish  

Tori gai (とりがい) - cockle

Kanpachi (かんぱち) - greater amberjack  

Hoya (ほや) - a sea squirt

Kisu (きす) - sillaginoid  

Madako (まだこ) - common octopus

Kibinago (きびなご) - silver-stripe round herring

Aji (あじ) - horse mackerel

Sawara (さわら) - Japanese Spanish mackerel

Ayu (あゆ) - sweetfish

Suzuki (すずき) - sea bass  

Isaki (いさき) - grunt

Dojou (どじょう) - loach  

Iwashi (いわし) - sardine

Tobiuo (とびうお) - flying fish  

Mebaru (めばる) - black rockfish  


Aori ika (アオリイカ) - bigfin reef squid

Surume Ika (スルメイカ) - Japanese common squid

Uni (ウニ) - sea urchin

Ayu (あゆ) - sweetfish  

Kuruma ebi (くるまえび) - kuruma prawn

Kajiki Maguro (かじきまぐろ) - marlin  

Kegani (けがに) - hair crab

Kamasu (かます) - barracuda  

Konbu (こんぶ) - tangle(weed)

Kawahagi (かわはぎ) - filefish  

Sazae (さざえ) - a turban shell

Kanpachi (かんぱち) - greater amberjack  

Shijimi (しじみ) - shijimi clam

Kisu (きす) - sillaginoid  

Tori gai (とりがい) - cockle

Suzuki (すずき) - sea bass  

Hoya (ほや) - a sea squirt

Tachiuo (たちうお) - hairtail  

Madako (まだこ) - common octopus

Dojou (どじょう) - loach  

Aji (あじ) - horse mackerel

Tobiuo (とびうお) - flying fish  

Iwashi (いわし) - sardine

Hamo (はも) - pike conger  

Unagi (うなぎ) - eel  


Ayu (あゆ) - sweetfish

Awabi (あわび) - abalone  

Iwashi (いわし) - sardine

Aori ika (アオリイカ) - bigfin reef squid  

Kajiki Maguro (かじきまぐろ) - marlin

Surume Ika (スルメイカ) - Japanese common squid

Kamasu (かます) - barracuda

Uni (ウニ) - sea urchin  

Kawahagi (かわはぎ) - filefish

Kuruma ebi (くるまえび) - kuruma prawn  

Kanpachi (かんぱち) - greater amberjack

Kegani (けがに) - hair crab  

Kisu (きす) - sillaginoid

Konbu (こんぶ) - tangle(weed)  

Suzuki (すずき) - sea bass

Sazae (さざえ) - a turban shell  

Tachiuo (たちうお) - hairtail

Madako (まだこ) - common octopus  


Awabi (あわび) - abalone

Surume Ika (スルメイカ) - Japanese common squid

Ikura (いくら) - salmon roe

Kanpachi (かんぱち) - greater amberjack  

Kuruma ebi (くるまえび) - kuruma prawn

Sake (さけ) - salmon  

Kegani (けがに) - hair crab

Sanma (さんま) - Pacific saury  

Konbu (こんぶ) - tangle(weed)

Shirasu (しらす) - whitebait  

Iwashi (いわし) - sardine

Tachiuo (たちうお) - hairtail  

Katsuo (かつお) - bonito  


Ikura (いくら) - salmon roe

Surume Ika (スルメイカ) - Japanese common squid

Unagi (うなぎ) - eel

Kegani (けがに) - hair crab  

Sanma (さんま) - Pacific saury

Iwashi (いわし) - sardine  

Shirasu (しらす) - whitebait

Katsuo (かつお) - bonito  

Tachiuo (たちうお) - hairtail

Sake (さけ) - salmon  

Hata hata (はたはた) - sandfish

Saba (さば) - mackerel  

Hamo (はも) - pike conger

Sawara (さわら) - Japanese Spanish mackerel

Bora (ぼら) - striped mullet  

Ise ebi (いせえび) - lobster  


Ikura (いくら) - salmon roe

Kohada (こはだ(このしろ)) - medium‐sized gizzard shad

Ise ebi (いせえび) - lobster

Sake (さけ) - salmon  

Taraba gani (タラバガニ) - red king crab

Saba (さば) - mackerel  

Kegani (けがに) - hair crab

Sawara (さわら) - Japanese Spanish mackerel

Nori (のり) - seaweed

Shishamo (ししゃも) - smelt  

Hamachi (はまち) - young yellowtail

Tachiuo (たちうお) - hairtail  

Unagi (うなぎ) - eel

Hata hata (はたはた) - sandfish  

Kamasu (かます) - barracuda

Hamo (はも) - pike conger  

Hirame (ひらめ) - flatfish  

Bora (ぼら) - striped mullet


Akagai (あかがい) - ark shell

Kamasu (かます) - barracuda  

Iidako (イイダコ) - ocellated octopus

Kinmedai (きんめだい) - red snapper  

Yari ika (ヤリイカ) - spear squid

Kohada (こはだ(このしろ)) - medium‐sized gizzard shad

Ise ebi (いせえび) - lobster

Saba (さば) - mackerel  

Kaki (かき) - oyster

Sawara (さわら) - Japanese Spanish mackerel

Taraba Gani (タラバガニ) - red king crab

Shishamo (ししゃも) - smelt  

Kegani (けがに) - hair crab

Tara (たら) - codfish  

Nori (のり) - seaweed

Hata hata (はたはた) - sandfish  

Ankou (あんこう) - anglerfish

Hirame (ひらめ) - flatfish  

Hamachi (はまち) - young yellowtail

Buri (ぶり) - yellowtail  

Unagi (うなぎ) - eel

Houbou (ほうぼう) - gurnard  

Bora (ぼら) - striped mullet