A Beginner’s Guide to Sushi Names

You cannot go back to your country without eating authentic sushi in Japan. But, have you ever had such an experience, confused with all the different sushi names? Here is a perfect guide for you to check out with a list of must-eat sushi restaurants too!


Food & Drinks

Buy Japanese Crafts Online click to get 10% off your first order - BECOS


One of Japan’s major symbols, sushi is one the best-loved meals in Japan and extremely popular in many places abroad. However, due to the natural absence of many ingredients overseas, traditional Japanese sushi is not often found in western restaurants. Foreigners who come to Japan for the first time are surprised when looking at a sushi menu and stumbling upon the unfamiliar items. There are so many different types of sushi so it is easy to get confused!

Well, if you did not grow up in Japan, choosing the right item can be a little bit complicated. This beginner’s guide will help you to learn the Japanese names for various sushi toppings and avoid typical mistakes when ordering sushi in a restaurant.

Names for Fish Toppings

Trying to choose the sushi item at the restaurant often resembles taking part in a quiz game "Name That Fish". For example, there are more than five Japanese terms for the young yellowtail, depending on its age. Here are some popular names for sushi that contains fish!

Saba (鯖) – mackerel

Aji (鯵) – horse mackerel

Toro (とろ) - fatty tuna

Katsuo (鰹) - bonito

Okoze (おこぜ) - stingfish

Iwashi (鰯) – sardine

Suzuki (鱸) – sea bass

Unagi (鰻) – freshwater eel

Sake (鮭) – salmon


Names for Shellfish and Inkfish

The seas around Japan offer a rich array of shellfish and inkfish often eaten with sushi. If you want a protein-rich and delicious meal, do not hesitate to order items mentioned below!

Awabi (鮑) - abalone

Ebi (海老) – boiled or raw shrimp

Kaki (貝) – oyster

Akagai (赤貝) – ark shell

Kani (蟹) – crab

Ika (烏賊) – calamari


Names for Other Toppings

Ikura (イクラ) – salmon roe

Kombu (昆布) – seaweed

Kappa (かっぱ) – cucumber

Tamagoyaki (玉子焼) – omelet


Sushi, it is the first food coming up to Japanese minds in many situations. Since there are hundreds of thousands sushi restaurants, finding the best one is excessively difficult. We, this time, present the most popular 3 sushi restaurants in November, hoping to help your selection.


Sushi Ichikawa

In Kaminoge residential area, Sushi Ichikawa, hidden among foodies’ rumours, is there. Chef Ichikawa, who trained at a well-known Kyoto cuisine restaurant, presents a traditional Edo-mae sushi and Kyoto style dishes originating in his training. Tuna, the chef has the keenest interest in it, is included in "Chef's selection" (¥20,000). You can leave the drink up to the chef, and he will choose the optimal drinks that match the food, so as your talk can go through smoothly.


Address: Kaminoge ritorutaun.1F, 4-27-1, Nakamachi, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo



Sushi MASUDA in south Aoyama is run by chef Masuda, who completed training at Japanese representative sushi restaurant, Sukiyabashi Jiro. His management over rice and fish covers all the bases under the belief that the preparation of ingredients is key of sushi. "Chef's choice Nigiri menu" (¥20,500) consists of fine seafoods, delicate rice and elegant vinegar, harmonizing in your mouth.


Address:BC minamiaoyama PROPERTY.B1F, 5-8-11, Minamiaoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo


Shirokane Taira

At the counter consisting of a large board of cypress that creates a clean and luxurious atmosphere, you can enjoy Edo-mae sushi fostered by history and tradition. Vinegar as a keen interested of chef, combination of red and white ones adds elegance to sushi. Not only vinegars, seafoods, and rice, chef pays much attention to water boiled in a "Nanbu" iron kettle and charcoal to grill foods. You can enjoy genuine sushi of Japan from its taste and also from whole space.


Address:Barbizon91 1F,5-11-3,Shirokanedai,Minato-ku,tokyo



A sushi bar that is located beyond the hustle and bustle of Ebisu, Shibuya. While respecting the basics of the Edomae-style, the innovative dishes, full of playfulness, are not trapped by the expectations of a sushi bar. As the dishes are numerous and offered in small portions, one is able to thoroughly enjoy the tastes of the season. Moreover, it is possible to choose between a meal focused on small plates or one focused on nigiri.


Address: B1F, Hillside Residence, 4-23-10 Ebisu, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo



Hope this guide will help you to navigate through the pages of menu in sushi restaurants like a native Japanese. Get a firm grasp on what does sushi names mean and enjoy your culinary experiences in Japan!


About Pocket Concierge
An online reservation and payment service for Michelin-starred and tough-to-book restaurants. Currently lists carefully curated collection of 300+ restaurants in Tokyo, Yokohama and Kyoto area, with 60+ essential restaurants listed in English version. Each restaurant offers special course exclusive to Pocket Concierge users, catering to each users’ personal desires. After the meal, the check will automatically be billed to your registered card, so it’s OK to forget your wallet at home, and the culinary experience will also be consistent and enjoyable. Pocket Concierge only lists field-tested high-end restaurants perfect for occasions like business reception, dating, anniversaries celebration and important get-togethers.

※  Sign up for a free Pocket Concierge account to enjoy our service. You can browse   restaurants, reserve courses and make online payment by registered cards. We support 24-hour short-notice booking

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

About the author

tsunagu Japan
This is tsunagu Japan's official account.

Restaurant Search