15 Most Popular Types of Nigiri in Japan

Sushi is undoubtedly one of the first foods that come to mind when you think of Japanese cuisine. Sushi is a subcategory of sushi made of rice with fish or other seafood. Despite the fact that there are numerous varieties of sushi, nigiri is one of the most well-liked, and there are different types of nigiri in Japan.

A raw piece of fish or other seafood is placed atop a rice ball to make a nigiri. Here are 15 different types of nigiri that you should try if you want to sample some delectable nigiri while visiting Japan.

15 Most Popular Types of Nigiri in Japan

Before we venture into the 15 types of Nigiri, let’s discuss briefly what Nigiri is.

What Is Nigiri?

A variety of sushi known as nigiri is a Japanese dish comprised of rice that has been shaped into a rectangle and then topped with an ingredient. Although it can also be eaten with the fingers, nigiri is typically eaten with chopsticks.

Nigiri is one of the most well-liked foods in Japan. There are many sorts, but in this essay, we’ll focus on 20 different kinds of nigiri sushi.

The several forms of nigiri, examples of various nigiri sushi varieties for each type, and safe eating techniques are all provided here.

Top 15 Types Of Nigiri You Should Try

1. Saba-Mackerel

Saba-Mackerel: One of the most popular varieties of nigiri, this dish is constructed with mackerel that has been thinly sliced and then piled high with rice. The mackerel is typically served from a large fillet that has been chopped into pieces, but it can also be served from fillets that have been steam-cooked.

2. Kampachi-Greater Amberjack

Greater Amberjack, or Kampachi: The Pacific Ocean is home to this species of amberjack. Its golden hue, flavour, and soft texture are all exceptional. You’ll notice that this kind of nigiri is balanced with a light sweetness when you eat it. It is excellent, for your taste.

3. Engawa-Halibut

The term engawa describes the fish’s belly skin, which is frequently eaten as sashimi (raw fish). The skin of halibut has a subtle flavor that pairs nicely with vinegared rice and is reminiscent of sole and flounder.

4. Aji horse mackerel

Aji-Horse Mackerel, also known as aji horse mackerel, is a style of nigiri that is produced by putting cooked rice on top of horse mackerel and then adding a sauce made from soy sauce and vinegar combined together. It is frequently consumed with ginger and wasabi.

5. Scallop

This particular style of nigiri is produced with a scallop that has been thinly cut into pieces, laid over rice, and then drizzled with a small amount of wasabi paste.

6. Kurage-Jellyfish

Nigiri includes kurage-jellyfish. This nigiri is constructed using raw jellyfish, which is referred to as kurage in Japanese. This type of Nigiri is served with wasabi, and soy sauce.

The name alludes to the fact that when cut into rounds, it resembles a jellyfish. Chopsticks are typically used to consume these, but if the slices are big enough, you can also eat them with your hands.

7. Squid

A slice of fresh squid is added to vinegared rice to make squid nigiri, a form of nigiri. This nigiri will give you a delightful flavor and an unforgettable sense of purification at the tip of your tongue thanks to the hardness of the squid meat, which is paired with rice and a little soy sauce.

This is one of the popular types of nigiri at sushi restaurants, You should try it when you come for holidays in Japan.

8. Iwashi-Sardine

Sardines are sometimes known as iwashi. Japanese people love this kind of fish since it is inexpensive and simple to find. It has a robust flavor that complements rice. Iwashi sashimi is typically served with soy sauce, wasabi paste, and grated ginger, so you can season it however you like.

9. Uni-Sea Urchin

One of the most well-known varieties of nigiri sushi is uni-sea urchin. It is sea urchin-based and is served over rice. To allow you to dip both sides of the sea urchin in the sauce, uni-sea urchin is frequently served with a soy sauce and ponzu sauce mixture. The Uni-Sea Urchin gains a particularly deep flavour as a result.

You’ll need to get some fresh sea urchins from your neighborhood fishmonger or supermarket if you want to make your own Uni-Sea Urchin. To ensure that they sit properly on top of your rice without coming off, it is best if you can get small ones that are about an inch long. They won’t be able to stay in position when you’re eating them if they’re too huge!

10. Anago-Eel

The eel nigiri known as anago is produced from fresh eel that has been thinly sliced, formed into an oval shape, and drizzled with a little sweet sauce before being placed on top of the rice. Anago is typically served throughout the winter because it is meant to keep you warm.

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11. Escolar

Escolar, commonly referred to as wahoo, is a type of oily fish that has been prohibited in various nations because, when consumed raw, it can induce intestinal irritation. The white, flaky flesh has an oily consistency akin to tuna. It has a mellow taste that pairs well with pepper and soy sauce.

12. Shima Aji-Striped Jack

The Edo period is when this nigiri first appeared (1603–1868). It’s made with striped jackfish and has either ginger root or daikon radish gratings on top. It is frequently offered as an appetizer at an izakaya (Japanese pubs).

13. Maguro Bluefin Tuna

Nigiri are sushi rolls, and maguro is the most popular and priciest variety of tuna used in them. Maguro has white flesh with a flavor that is creamy and buttery that pairs with rice and soy sauce.

Bluefin tuna, commonly referred to as hon maguro in Japanese, is where the best maguro is found. Because they are well renowned for being very fatty and oily, bluefin tunas are able to keep their body heat in colder water.

In most cases, when you order maguro at a sushi restaurant, you’ll get a single piece of nigiri with a raw fish slice on top. The most popular cuts were kami and toro (fatty tuna belly) (lean muscle meat).

14. Fish Roe

To ensure the nigiri’s delectable flavor, the caviar for this form of nigiri must be extremely fresh.

When you bite into a nigiri, the salty flavour of the fish roe will permeate throughout your mouth, bringing with it a unique flavour that you will undoubtedly become connected to forever.

When you bite into a nigiri, the salty flavour of the fish roe will permeate throughout your mouth, bringing with it a unique flavour that you will undoubtedly become connected to forever.

15. Akamutsu-Rosy Seabass.

Nigiri sushi known as “Akamatsu” is made with a particular variety of pink seabass. It’s one of the priciest and most well-liked varieties of sushi available today.

Japanese fish known as akamatsu has a sweet flavor and is lean and delicate. Because of its pink hue, it is often referred to as a “pink snapper.”

Its 10% to 15% fat content, which gives the food its rose hue. The flesh may be pinkish white or white. In Japan, the fish itself is not very popular.

How Are Nigiri Made?

Nigiri is typically ordered in certain restaurants, but if you don’t feel like going out, you can prepare them at home. because making nigiri is straightforward. The ingredients for nigiri sushi are raw fish, shellfish, or vegetables. Wasabi and soy sauce are typically paired with nigiri sushi.

Here’s how to make nigiri quickly after gathering all the ingredients:

  • First, prepare the rice. For optimal results, use real short-grain sushi rice.
  • The Rice is seasoned. Sushi vinegar is used to season the rice.
  • Fix the topping like Slice the Fish, Cook the Eggs, etc.
  • Shape the rice.
  • Assemble.
  • With or Without Nori Seaweed

Precautions For Eating All Forms Of Nigiri

Since the majority of nigiri varieties are created with fresh ingredients, you must exercise caution when eating them to prevent unpleasant situations like food illness or stomachaches. How to eat nigiri safely is as follows:

  • As soon as you crack open the package, separate your chopsticks. They might have picked up bacteria if they had been kept together in a single container.
  • Prior to consuming nigiri sushi and after handling raw fish or other components, wash your hands. Food poisoning will be less likely as a result.
  • Use clean plates and utensils to serve your food on, and wash them properly afterwards to prevent the spread of bacteria while storing or washing plates and utensils at home.


Open the packaging and separate your chopsticks right away. It’s possible that they became contaminated with bacteria if they were kept together in a single container.

After handling raw fish or other components, wash your hands before and after eating nigiri sushi. Food poisoning can be avoided by doing this.

Use clean plates and utensils to serve your food on, and wash them completely afterwards to eliminate any chance of bacterial transfer during storage or cleaning at home.


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