Oysters (牡蠣)



Basically, oysters can be found in many different parts of the world. However, they are widely consumed in Japan, while this fact is not well known worldwide. Would you like to know more about Japanese oysters? If so, keep reading!

Are the oysters all the same?

Long story short, the answer is no.  In Japan, they can be divided mostly in two types: Pacific oysters and Iwagaki oysters. The Pacific oyster season is winter, while Iwagaki oyster season is summer. Iwagaki oysters are native to Japan, are harvested mostly from the wild and much larger than Pacific oysters.

Famous areas in Japan for oysters

Hiroshima Prefecture is the largest producer of oysters in Japan and the most famous for it. Its oysters are juicy, with small shells and ample, plump flesh rich in flavor. 
Sanriku Coast, located in the northeastern part of Japan, is also famous due to its oceanic environment, making it an ideal environment for oysters to grow. 
Last, but not least important is Hokkaido. Hokkaido prefecture is very popular for oysters due to the cold water surrounding Akkeshi Bay.

Raw oysters or nama-gaki

The texture of raw oysters is described as being creamy with a sweet and briny flavour. The oysters are eaten either shucked or on the half-shell with dressings such as vinegar, ponzu or momoji-oroshi. 
It can also be eaten as sushi, for example, nigiri-sushi and gunkan maki. 

Fried oysters or kaki furai

Fried oysters are also very popular in Japan. This dish consists of oysters being breaded in panko and then deep-fried. It is not usually served alone, but with side dishes like raw cabbage, lemon and tartar sauce or a sweet sauce.

Kaki no dotenabe

It is a popular hot pot dish from Hiroshima and it is made of vegetables, tofu and oysters that have been simmered in a broth. 

My trip to Miyajima

When I went to Miyajima (an island in front of Hiroshima), I had the chance to taste oysters. In this case, they were  Pacific oysters. It was the first time I tried this kind of oyster.  In my country, Spain, Atlantic oysters are sold instead of Pacific oysters and Iwakaki oysters, so they are difficult to find. Although the taste was a little different, I really liked them! If you go to any of the places above, I recommend you try them, even more so if it’s their season.