The sushi glossary was created because memorizing the hundreds of Japanese terms that are used in the sushi industry can be hard. On all of our webpages, Japanese terms will be italicized. If you see a term that you don’t recognize, feel free to hop over to this page to reference it’s unique meaning.
Don’t see the term you are looking for? Maybe you heard a term used elsewhere and you wanted to know if it was used for sushi? Feel free to use the comments section, below, to ask any questions about the term(s) you’re looking for. You don’t need to know the term itself, as long as you can give me an accurate description of what the object (or technique) is.
Fish (or other seafood)
Aji – Spanish mackerel
Akaga –. Red clam
Akami – Lean tuna, cut from the back of the fish
Ama-ebi – Sweet shrimp, usually served raw
Odori-ebi – “Dancing shrimp,” Ama ebi served living
Anago – Saltwater Conger eel
Aoyagi – Yellow clam
Awabi – Abalone
Ayu – Sweetfish
Bonito – English word for the Japanese katsuo
Buri – Adult yellowtail
Chu-toro – Medium fatty tuna, from the upper belly
Ebi – Shrimp
Fugu – Blowfish (potentially lethal)
Hamachi – Yellowtail
Hamachi-kama – Yellowtail collars
Hamo – Pike conger
Hatahata – Sandfish
Hirame – Halibut
Hokkigai – Surf clam
Hotategai – Scallops
Ika – Squid
Ikura – Salmon roe
Iwana – Char
Iwashi – Sardine
Kajiki – Swordfish
Kamaboko – Fish cake
Kani – Crab meat
Kani-kama – Fake crab meat
Kanimiso – Green contents of a crab’s head
Karei – Flounder, flatfish
Katsuo – Bonito fish
Katsuo-boshi – Dried bonito fish
Kazunoko – Herring roe
Kimachi – A small fish from the yellowtail family
Kohada – Gizzard shad
Kurodai – Snapper
Maguro – Tuna
Masu – Trout
Mekajiki – Blue marlin
Mentaiko – Spicy, marinated cod roe
Mirugai – Long neck clam
Niika – Cooked Monterey squid
Nijimasu – Rainbow trout
O-toro – Fattiest tuna
Saba – Mackerel
Sake – Salmon
Sanma – Japanese mackerel
Sawagan –. Small crabs
Seigo – Young sea bass
Shiro maguro – Albacore tuna
Suzuki – Striped bass or rockfish
Tai – Red Snapper
Tairagai – Razor-shell clam
Tako – Octopus
Nama-tako – Fresh or raw octopus
Tarako – Cod roe
Tobiko – Flying fish roe
Torigai. – Cockle clam
Toro – Fatty tuna
Negitoro – Chopped and mixed negi-onion and toro
Unagi – Freshwater eel
Unagi maki – Eel roll
Uni – Sea urchin
Sushi Glossary: Equipment
Geta – Wooden sushi plate
Hocho – General term for knife
Hangiri – Large, wooden basin used for cooling rice
Hashi – Chopsticks
Makisu – Bamboo rolling mat
Oshitsu – Japanese container to keep sushi rice warm
Shamoji – Wooden or bamboo rice paddle
Sushi Glossary: Ingredients
Daikon – Giant, long white radish.
Dashi – Fish stock.
Edamame – Soybeans, served in the pod as an appetizer.
Fuki – A fibrous vegetable often simmered in broth.
Gari – Pickled ginger.
Gobo – Long, slender burdock root.
Goma – Sesame seeds.
Hijiki – Black seaweed in tiny threads.
Kampyo – Dried gourd strips.
Kappa – Cucumber, when used in a roll.
Kombu – Kelp, possibly dried.
Murasaki – Sushi term for soy sauce.
Nasu – Eggplant.
Negi – A Japanese onion.
Nori – Purple laver seaweed pressed into thin sheets.
Oshinko – Pickled vegetables, usually cucumber.
Ponzu – Citrus/Soy sauce made with Yuzu
Shoyu – Japanese soy sauce.
Su – Seasoned rice wine vinegar.
Sumitomo – A kind of cucumber salad.
Sunomono – Pickled foods.
Tamago – Egg!
Takenoko – Bamboo shoots.
Takuan – Pickled daikon radish.
Tsukemono – Pickles.
Umeboshi – Small, bitter, pickled Japanese plum.
Wakame – Lobe-leaf seaweed in strands.
Yuzu – Japanese lemon.
Sushi Glossary: General Terms
Agemono – Fried foods.
Futomaki – Fat roll.
Fukusa sushi – A type of sushi which is wrapped in a crepe.
Inari sushi – Aburage stuffed with sushi rice.
Maki sushi – A sushi roll with rice on the outside.
Norimaki – A roll with nori on the outside.
Nigiri sushi – A slice of fish or other topping on a ball of rice.
Okonomi-zushi – Home-style nigiri sushi.
Onigiri – Rice balls with various stuffings.
Oshi-zushi – Sushi rice and other ingredients pressed into a box or mold. .
Sashimi – Sliced or prepared raw fish.
Sushi – Anything made with vinegar rice.
Tataki – Finely chopped or pan seared, then finely chopped.
Tazuna sushi – A roll with diagonal strips of food across the top.
Tempura – Deep friend vegetables or seafood.
Temaki – Hand rolls, usually cone-shaped.