Sea Urchin from Aomori Prefecture

Aomori prefecture produces two types of sea urchins, the northern sea urchin and the short-spined sea urchin. The northern sea urchin from Aomori prefecture is especially sought after for its fine taste. Its peak season spans over pre-spawning season in the spring to early summer.

From the Tsugaru Strait to the Pacific coastal, sea urchin in Aomori can be found in the towns of Sai, Oma, Kazamaura, Mutsu, Higashidori, Rokkasho, Hachinohe, and Hashikami. In 2019, Aomori ranked 3rd in Japan in catch following Hokkaido and Iwate, with approximately 652 tons (according to the Statistics of Fishery and Fish Culture 2019).

Sea Urchin
Sea Urchin from Aomori Prefecture

In the Sai village of the Shimokita Peninsula, sea urchin fishing is done using trapping, where nets are sunk to the sea bed, 20-meter deep. Another method uses a surface pike, where urchins are caught one by one with the pike from the sea bed of shoaly waters.

The trapping method is used from April 1st, whereas the pike method is used from mid-June, concurrently. Though short-spined sea urchin is also prevalent in the area, the northern sea urchin is considered more valuable.

The urchin roe is exceptional especially when they are in an area with abundant seaweed such as kelp. It is up to the fishermen’s ability to find such an ideal spot.

Sea Urchin Nutrition

The part of urchin eaten is the reproductive organ (gonads). It is rich in amino acids, or umami, and vitamin A. It also contains high levels of vitamins B1, B2, E, and glutamic acid, making it a delicious and nutritious seafood.

Sea Urchin Selection

When selecting urchin with the outer shell, look for those with hard spines and tightly closed mouths. For shelled urchin, look for a puffy shape, bright, shiny color and firm texture. Typically, aluminum potassium sulfate is added to preserve shelled urchin, which can taste bitter.

In Aomori, urchin without additives such as Alum is available seasonally from local producers at local stores.

Sea Urchin Selection
Sea Urchin from Aomori Prefecture

“Ichigo-ni” Urchin and Abalone Soup

“Ichigo-ni” Urchin and Abalone Soup

While fresh uni as sashimi or a uni rice bowl are both fantastic choices, a local specialty, “ichigo-ni,” from the Kennan region of Aomori is also highly recommended.

This luxurious dish uses two delicacies, urchin and abalone, and it is a must dish for celebratory occasions. The dish has its name from the urchin’s resemblance to strawberries in a field with morning mist.


Aomori Local Cuisine “Ichigoni Urchin Soup“
Aomori Culinary AreasSampachi Kamikita Region “Hachinohe Culinary Area”


*Please check the official webpages prior to your visit for changes or cancellations.

“Sai Village Uni Festival”

This event is held annually mid-June.
Please visit the Sai Tourism Association website for more information.

“Hashikami Ichigo-ni Festival”

This event is held annually at the end of July.
Please visit the Hashikami Chamber of Commerce website for more information.

Link to English page

Aomori Specialty Guide Shellfish Seaweed, and Other Seafood “Sea Urchin”

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