Winter to Spring Bounty – Spear Squid


Spear squid fishing season reaches its peak when the frigid weather arrives with the rough waves. While Japanese common squid is known as “summer squid,” spear squid is called “winter squid.” The fishing season in Aomori Prefecture is from December to April.

Above all, squid with roe in early spring is especially prized for its unique texture and flavor.

Delicious Mantle, Fin, and Tentacles! The Highly Prized Squid

Spear squid can be caught around Hachinohe, Ajigasawa, Fukaura, Nakadomari, Mutsu, Higashidori, and Sai. They are called “yari-ika” (meaning “spear squid”) because they have large fins with a pointed tip that looks like a spear. They are characterized by a long body and short tentacles. Compared to Japanese common squid, the flesh of the spear squid is softer with a nice texture and sweetness.
The fins and tentacles are also tender and delicious, making it one of the most prized species of squid.

Tsugaru Strait Goldeye Rockfish

Highest Degree of Freshness

The Ajigasawa Fishery Cooperative Association boxes and ships the freshly landed squid in separate boxes by size.

The closest place to the fishing port is 20 to 30 minutes offshore, so the shipped squid is in the freshest condition and may still be living when it arrives at the port. The shiny translucent flesh and the change in color when touched are evidence of freshness.

sashimi of usu-mebaru
sashimi of usu-mebaru
about yarika

Irresistible Squid Roe! Spear Squid in Early Spring

The Ajigasawa Fisheries Cooperative catches spear squid from December to April. The female squid caught during this period are full of eggs, as they come ashore to spawn from January to March. These squids are very popular because of their chewy texture, and many enthusiasts eagerly await this time of year every year.

Recommended Way of Eating

Sashimi is still the best way to enjoy fresh spear squid. Locals usually eat sashimi with a layer of squid roe on top and soy sauce. For condiments, grated ginger is recommended instead of wasabi. The unique sweetness of the squid and the flavor of the ginger complement each other perfectly.

Spear squid can also be enjoyed cooked, so simmered or grilled squid with salt is highly recommended. It is also delicious sliced into thin slices like sashimi, seasoned with mayonnaise and mentsuyu (noodle soup base), and topped with chili pepper to taste. Squid with roe is a special delicacy that can only be enjoyed for a limited period, and should be enjoyed in a variety of ways.

Freeze and Store Whole

While spear squid should be eaten immediately when fresh, it can be frozen whole with the roe in it. It is best to thaw naturally in room temperature. Its refined sweetness and unique texture make it an addictive flavor.

Tsugaru Strait Goldeye Rockfish

Located just a minute or two by car from the Ajigasawa Fisheries Cooperative Association, there is the Sea Station Wando. The Ajigasawa Fisheries Cooperative Direct Sales Center within the Sea Station Wando has a wide variety of fresh seafood, including freshly caught squid for sale.
The local staff knowledgeable in the local seafood demonstrate how to filet and prepare delicious dishes, always attracting the crowd of customers.

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