Japanese Seafood Vocabulary – Cheat Sheet

Curious about the Japanese word for different types of seafood? Find out more in this cheat sheet. We’ll be including the meaning and pronunciation of 20 Japanese seafood vocabulary under the fish and shellfish categories. Examples will also be provided.

Seafood is very prominent in a Japanese’s life. It’s a key ingredient in most of the country’s cuisine. While there are English menus provided by big Japanese fast-food chains, smaller local restaurants will have all of their dishes written in Japanese — often handwritten and in kanji.

By learning these words, you can easily order directly from a Japanese menu without fear of the unknown. You’ll also have an easier time shopping at the wet market, as sellers won’t be conversing in fluent English

Below, you will find a list of fish and shellfish species that are commonly found in Japan.

Fish

Here are 10 types of fish seafood commonly found in Japan:

JapanesePronunciationMeaning
魚介ぎょかい gyokaiSeafood
サケsakeSalmon
マグロmaguroTuna
カツオkatsuoBonito
サンマsanmaMackerel pike
サバsabaMackerel
ウナギunagiFreshwater eel
イカikaSquid
タコtakoOctopus
カレイkareiFlounder

Shellfish

Here are 10 types of shellfish seafood commonly found in Japan:

JapanesePronunciationMeaning
エビebiShrimp
カニkaniCrab
ロブスターrobusutāLobster
アサリasariClam
牡蠣かき kakiOyster
ウニuniSea urchin
ホタテhotateScallop
ムール貝mūrugaiMussel
昆布こんぶ konbuKelp
海藻 / 海苔かいそう のり kaisō / noriSeaweed

Example Sentences:

After learning the different terminologies, here are examples of how you can apply them in sentences.

Example 1:

By saying ‘魚介アレルギーなので、イカを食べることはできません。

Pronunciation: Gyokai arerugī nanode, ika o taberu koto wa dekimasen.

It means: ‘I’m allergic to seafood, so I cannot eat squid.’

Example 2:

By saying: ‘生の牡蠣は美味しいが、食中毒に気を付ける必要がある。

Pronunciation: Nama no kaki wa oishī ga, shokuchūdoku ni ki o tsukeru hitsuyō ga aru.

It means ‘Raw oysters are delicious, but one must be careful of food poisoning.’