Information about seafood

Varieties Major fishing districts in Hokkaido Best season, supply in Sapporo (shipping status in markets) Representative dishes
Abalone Soya and Shiribeshi districts Ezo abalone from Hokkaido is smaller than other abalone species, such as disk abalone from Honshu. The fishing season is between October and January in Shakotan, and one week from early July in Okushiri. Sashimi, grilled, steeped in sake and steamed
Squid Japanese common squid Rausu and Soya districts Between summer and autumn is the peak fishing season. The fish is caught from June in Hakodate, between August and late November in Rebun and from July to October in Wakkanai. In Rausu, the squid are hauled until early December. The fish arrives in markets during summer and autumn (mainly in July), and markets receive little of the fish between January and March. Sashimi, baked, ikameshi (squid stuffed with rice), and shiokara (salted fish guts)
Spear squid Okushiri and Wakkanai The fishing season is from winter to early spring (between January and May in Okushiri, May and June in Wakkanai and April and May in Shakotan). Spear squid is a little smaller than Japanese common squid, and has sharp heads and soft meat, making it good for sashimi.
Sardines Oshima district The best season is mainly between summer and autumn (from July to October in Hakodate). Although the fish arrives in markets throughout the year, the volume increases between summer and autumn (mainly in July), and decreases between winter and spring. Broiled with salt, sashimi and fish balls
Sea urchin Shakotan, Rishiri, Rebun and Lake Saroma Since the genitals are the edible parts, the best season arrives before the spawning season (August – September). In Shakotan, Rebun and Okushiri, among other areas, the peak seasons arrive between May and September, while in Eastern Hokkaido along the Pacific Ocean, in places such as Rausu, February to June are the best seasons. In Todohokke, sea urchin is caught between December and February. Markets sell it almost throughout the year. Sushi, sea urchin rice bowl, grilled, and pickled
Varieties Major fishing districts in Hokkaido Best season, supply in Sapporo (shipping status in markets) Representative dishes
Shrimp Botan shrimp Hidaka, Rumoi and Soya districts The best season comes in early spring (around March). The largest number of shrimp is shipped into markets in March. The shrimp is caught from spring to autumn, and the total volume decreases in winter. Sashimi, tempura, and deep-fried
Hokkai shrimp Lake Saroma, Betsukai and Wakkanai The best season is from June to mid-August. Since the shrimp cannot be kept frozen for a long time, it can rarely be eaten outside of the best season. The fish is meltingly sweet. The fresh ones are bluish, and they turn into a vivid red when heated. Sashimi, boiled, and grilled
Oyster Lake Saroma and Akkeshi Bay The best season is winter (especially between November and February). Oysters caught in Lake Saroma are small in size and taste mild, and the ones from Akkeshi are long and big. Oysters are rich in vitamins and minerals. Raw, grilled, pickled, and deep-fried
Crab Hairy crab Abashiri and Soya districts The fishing season is from late winter to summer (between February and July in Wakkanai, between June and July in Oshamambe). Although they shed their skins from late June, the crabs are said to be delicious before molting (especially the crabs caught in the Sea of Okhotsk in March and April). In addition, the nutrient-rich firm crabs caught in winter are also good. Boiled in salt, grilled, sashimi, zosui (porridges of rice and vegetables), and gratin
Snow crab Abashiri and Soya districts The fishing season is from autumn to winter (between January and February along with September and November in Wakkanai). The crabs reach 50 cm in width when they extend their legs. Sashimi, tempura, and teppo-jiru (crab leg soup)
King crab Wakkanai and Abashiri districts The fishing season is from winter to spring (between January and May in Wakkanai). The Japanese name of the crab includes a kanji (Chinese character) meaning cod, because it is believed that the crabs can be caught in the same season and area as cod. Boiled in salt, suimono (Japanese soup broth), and grilled
Spiny king crab Around the Hanasaki area of Nemuro The fishing season is August and September. The legs are thicker and shorter than king crabs, and spiny king crabs also have bigger spines. Boiled in salt, teppo-jiru (crab leg soup), crab hotpot, and sashimi
Varieties Major fishing districts in Hokkaido Best season, supply in Sapporo (shipping status in markets) Representative dishes
Flounder Soya, Nemuro, Abashiri and Mombetsu districts There are different varieties of flounder, including little-mouthed flounder, crest-headed flounder and point-headed flounder. The fishing seasons of all varieties are almost year round, and the fish arrive in markets throughout the year. Full-scale fishing in Hokkaido begins around October and is continued until winter. Boiled with soy sauce, grilled with salt, and deep-fried
Kelp Kushiro and Nemuro districts, Rishiri and Rausu Kelp gathered in the Kushiro area in May and June (saomae kelp) is so soft that it is called “vegetable” kelp. Rishiri kelp picked between July and August is good for soup stock and kelp rolls. Ma-kombu picked in July and August in the Hakodate area is said to be the finest kelp available. Cooked, tsukudani (kelp boiled in soy), and kelp-cured fish
Salmon Hidaka, Ishikari, Nemuro and Kushiro districts The best season for chum salmon, the largest of the salmon catches, is autumn, and large quantities of the fish come to markets in September and October. The salmon caught in around June is called tokishirazu, and is valued due to fattiness. Silver salmon arrives in markets between May and July. Salt-sprinkled grilled salmon, ruibe (frozen salmon sashimi), Ishikari-nabe (a pot in which salmon, various vegetables and tofu is boiled in a miso [bean paste] broth), and chan-chan-yaki (salmon fillet grilled with vegetables and miso)
Saury Kushiro and Nemuro districts The best season is autumn (mainly in September and October). In around October, the fat content of the fish is about 20% greater than normal. Markets rarely witness the fish in other seasons. Salt-sprinkled and grilled and sashimi
Smelt Kushiro and Hidaka districts The fishing season is autumn (mainly in mid-October and November) since the fish goes up river to lay eggs. Hitohoshi-yaki (grilled smelt dried overnight) and tempura
Rockfish Rishiri district and Wakkanai The fish belongs to the Sebastes order, the scorpaenid family. It is popular as the “sea bream of Hokkaido,” and it tastes simple but delicious. The fishing season begins in early spring and continues until late autumn (from mid-October to late November in Rebun). The best season is usually spring. Sashimi, hamanabe (a hot-pot of seafood cooked with miso), ushio-jiru soup (bony parts are cooked into the soup), and miso soup
Octopus Soya and Shiribeshi districts Although they are caught almost all year, with the exception of midsummer (July and August), the best season is usually said to be autumn. Markets receive them almost year round although the total volume of the catch decreases in summer. Sashimi, sunomono (food in sweetened vinegar), and tako-shabu (shabu shabu of octopus)
Varieties Major fishing districts in Hokkaido Best season, supply in Sapporo (shipping status in markets) Representative dishes
Cod Codfish Soya and Nemuro districts The best season comes in winter, when the fish lay eggs. Their testes are edible as soft roe. Markets sell the fish between late autumn and winter (mainly in November). Tarachiri (hodgepodge with cods), meuniere, dried fish in cold, and boiled with soy sauce
Alaska Pollack Soya and Abashiri districts The meat is ground to produce kamaboko (boiled fish paste), and the ovaries are salted to make tarako. In Rausu, people eat the fresh fish as sashimi. The best season is winter (mainly in December). Tarako arrive in markets between autumn and spring. Dried fish in cold, fresh and baked tarako, and koae (noodle-like strips of konjac jelly and cod roe dressed in sake, Japanese sweet rice wine and soy sauce)
Sandfish Tokachi and Hidaka districts The best season is winter. The fishing begins in earnest in mid-October along the Pacific coast in Hokkaido. Markets receive the fish between September and November. November sees the largest volume go to markets, and the volume is less in other seasons. Broiled with salt, hot-pot using the fish, and izushi (fermented sushi with fish, vegetables, rice and koji [rice malt])

Why is fish from the Sea of Okhotsk so delicious?
The Sea of Okhotsk is said to be one of the best fishing grounds in the world, and various species of delicious tasting fish are caught there.
Fish from low temperature seas are generally considered to taste good since they get fat to protect themselves from the cold. Since the Sea of Okhotsk is a cold sea that has ice floes and which is connected to the North Pole, the fish from the sea are fat and delicious.

About the crab family and the hermit crab class
Hokkaido’s four representative species of crabs are hairy crabs, snow crabs, king crabs and spiny king crabs. However, snow crabs and spiny king crabs do not actually belong to the crab family, but the hermit crab class of the spiny king crab family. Although crabs in the crab family have five pairs of legs that include one pair of claws, the spiny king crab family has only four pairs of legs.


  Varieties Major fishing districts in Hokkaido Best season, supply in Sapporo (shipping status in markets) Representative dishes
Surf clams Soya and Oshima districts “Hen clams” are the formal name of this bivalve of the Chinese Mactra family that inhabits sand and mud areas along cold seas. The best season is from June to August. Sashimi
Scallops Lake Saroma, Uchiura Bay and Abashiri district The fishing season begins in early spring and continues until late autumn. The best season is between spring and early summer. Although markets receive the shellfish almost all year, large volumes of scallops arrive in markets especially in March and April. Sashimi, broiled with salt, and sautéed with butter
Atka mackerel Shiribeshi and Nemuro districts The fish can be caught almost all year. It is said that the fish hauled in autumn and winter is fat and delicious. However, spring Atka mackerel caught in April and May is also delicious. Although the total number of the fish decreases in midwinter (January and February), markets receive the fish almost all year. Broiled after cut opened and dried, deep-fried, and ground
Trout Shiribeshi, Oshima, Soya and Nemuro districts There are several varieties of trout species, such as honmasu trout and aomasu trout. Honmasu trout arrive in markets from winter and spring, and aomasu trout is between spring and summer. Broiled with salt and meuniere

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