JAPAN EATS: Different Types of Sushi to Try

Japan has exported numerous products from cars to gadgets to anime; food is also one of its most famous exports. Sushi is one of Japan’s most recognizable and famous dishes. This delicacy is often the item visitors look for when they travel around the country. Its precise taste and the right mix of ingredients make sushi a popular choice for both locals and tourists.

If you are planning to go on a culinary adventure, you might want to know the different kinds of sushi you can find in Japan. These are some of the noteworthy sushi types to try while traveling around Japan. Include these in your culinary adventure to elevate your experience and immersion in the country.


This sushi type uses rice and a couple of ingredients, most likely a mix of seafood and veggies, and rolls them in nori (seaweed). Another variety of makizushi is called futomaki. It is thicker and has other complimentary ingredients other than tuna, pickled daikon or cucumber. You’ll usually find this variant inside bento boxes sold in convenience stores.

Uramaki Sushi

This variant of makizushi sets itself apart because of its “inside-out” roll. Sushi uses the nori on the outside with rice inside, but for this type, it is the other way around.


This sushi type dates all the way back to Edo times in the 1800s. This type is topped with different ingredients such as seafood, tofu, veggies, meat or even an omelet. This may come with garnishing such as chives or onions. Some chefs may pickle the fish they put on the rice in vinegar or soy sauce. You can have this as a snack after or while exploring the city.

California Roll

The common ingredients used for this sushi type are a mix of avocado and crab or tuna. You can find this in many supermarkets and convenience stores in Japan. Grab a pack of these as a snack or light meal if you plan to save a bit of money during your trip.


Upon first glance, temaki looks like an ice cream cone. Chefs make this type of sushi by wrapping a sheet of nori like a cone around the rice and the ingredients of their choice. Some of the ingredients they use include sweetened omelet, shiso leaf, and pickled plum paste, and squid just to name a few. Because of its simplicity, some just decide to make this at home instead of eating it in a restaurant.

Spicy Tuna Roll

Try this delicious type of sushi that features tuna as its main ingredient. This has a nice kick to it because of the peppers and spicy sauce that chefs usually add to it.


This type of sushi originated in Osaka and has a unique box-like appearance. Chefs press ingredients and shape it into a box then add various toppings. Some of these include bamboo leaves and seafood. A chef may arrange the ingredients in any way they like to improve its presentation.

Unagi Sushi

If you want to try something different than the usual tuna topping, an unagi sushi roll might be the one you are looking for. The chef coats or marinates the unagi (eel) with teriyaki or soy sauce and places it on top of the rice stuffed with some vegetables.


This sweet-tasting sushi treat doesn’t use meat as the main ingredient; it uses tofu instead. Chefs use pieces of tofu and deep fry it into something that resembles a tiny pouch. They then stuff it with various ingredients like a few veggies and sushi rice. Sushi chefs also add some sugar and soy sauce to give it its distinct taste.


This type is also called “scattered sushi” and comes with various ingredients like mushrooms, seafood, sushi rice (vinegared rice), and cucumber just to name a few. You don’t have to go traditional when you eat this. You can mix and match ingredients to suit your taste or mood.


This sushi type uses bamboo leaf as wrapping for its toppings and rice. Some say that it traces its roots to the Warring States epoch in Nagano. Chefs use a variety of toppings such as bamboo shoots, mushrooms, salmon, walnuts and others.

Gunkan Maki

This sushi variant was an invention of a Ginza-based chef back in the 1940s. This type has different fillings inside the rice ball wrapped in nori. It also got its name from its battleship-like appearance. Some commonly used toppings for this type of sushi are sea urchin, fatty tuna belly, potato salad, and salmon roe.


This sushi type uses a persimmon leaf as its wrapping. Kakinoha-zushi is a Nara specialty that uses mackerel or salmon as its most common topping. During the Edo Period, people from Nara used persimmon leaves to wrap fresh seafood so that it won’t rot while transporting it to other towns.

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