Savour the Ocean: Exploring Must-Try Japanese Seafood Snacks

Savour the Ocean: Exploring Must-Try Japanese Seafood Snacks

If there's one thing Japan is known for, it's the country's incredible range of seafood. Surrounded by the sea, Japan's geographic position has significantly influenced its culinary traditions, with seafood playing a prominent role. Beyond sushi and sashimi, the Japanese love for seafood also extends to their snack culture. From savoury to sweet, spicy to umami-rich, Japanese seafood snacks are delicious and exciting. Let's take a deep dive into this fascinating world!

 

A Bite-sized History Lesson: Influence of Seafood in Japanese Snack Culture


Photo by photoAC

The impact of seafood on Japanese cuisine can be traced back centuries, where coastal communities would preserve their bountiful catches as a means of survival during harsh winters. Preserved seafood eventually found its way into everyday snacks, with traditional methods still being used today. Snacks like rice crackers, or senbei (煎餅), often include a hint of shrimp or seaweed, while other snacks consist entirely of dried seafood. Over time, these seafood snacks have become an integral part of Japanese culture, shared during family gatherings, festival celebrations, and as thoughtful gifts.

 

Ebi Senbei (Shrimp Rice Crackers)


Photo by photoAC

Ebi Senbei (エビ煎餅) is one of the most popular seafood snacks in Japan. These crispy rice crackers pack a punch of flavor thanks to the infusion of shrimp. Perfectly crunchy, these snacks often come with a hint of soy sauce, which pairs beautifully with the seafood flavour. If you're looking for a seafood snack that's more similar to the chips you're used to, Ebi Senbei is a perfect choice—but there's more to this snack than meets the eye. Originating from the coastal regions of Japan, Ebi Senbei have a deep connection with Japan's historical fishing culture. Traditional versions of this snack still use locally caught shrimp, creating an authentic taste that transports you straight to the shores of Japan. 

 

Kaki No Tane (Persimmon Seeds)


Photo by Pakutaso

Don't be fooled by the name—these snacks don't contain any persimmon! Instead, Kaki No Tane (柿の種), also known as "Kakipea," is a mix of rice crackers and peanuts, often flavoured with soy sauce and a spicy kick from red pepper. The name comes from their resemblance to persimmon seeds. While not strictly a seafood snack, they often come packaged with tiny dried sardines, making them a delectable treat for seafood lovers. The combination of spicy, salty, and sweet, along with the crunchy texture, makes Kaki No Tane incredibly addictive.

 

Ika (Squid) Snacks

Grilled squid
Photo by Pakutaso

Japanese cuisine would be incomplete without squid, and that extends to their snack culture too. Dried, cured, and seasoned squid snacks, known as Surume (スルメ) or Ika (イカ), are popular across the country. They have a chewy texture, similar to beef jerky, with a unique combination of sweet, salty, and umami flavors that keep you reaching for more. Squid snacks often come in strips, resembling the shape of the squid from which they're made. Enjoy them with a cold beer or sake, and you've got yourself a traditional Japanese izakaya experience right at home!

Tarako and Mentaiko (Cod Roe) Snacks

Mentaiko, spicy cod roe
Photo by Pakutaso

Japan's culinary affinity for roe extends to their snack culture with Tarako (たらこ) and Mentaiko (明太子) flavoured snacks. Tarako refers to plain, salted cod roe, while Mentaiko is marinated with spices and ingredients like chili pepper, providing a burst of flavor. Whether it's chips, crackers, or tiny bite-sized snacks, the unique flavours of Tarako and Mentaiko are quite popular. Like other seafood snacks, these roe-infused goodies can be traced back to Japan's coastal regions, where roe was plentiful. Enjoy these treats and experience a unique part of Japanese seafood culture.

 

Nori (Seaweed) Snacks

Nori seaweed wrapped sushiPhoto by Pakutaso

No list of Japanese seafood snacks would be complete without nori (海苔), or seaweed. Used in everything from sushi to soups, seaweed is a staple in Japanese cuisine. When it comes to snacks, nori comes in many forms—dried sheets, seasoned strips, or even wrapped around rice crackers or puffed grain snacks. The taste is subtly salty, with a hint of the sea, and a umami depth that's incredibly satisfying. And it's not just the taste that's impressive—nori is packed with minerals like iodine and calcium, making it a healthy snack choice.

 

Bringing the Taste of Japan to You

While we've covered some of the most popular Japanese seafood snacks, there's so much more to explore. Each region of Japan has its local specialties, variations, and flavors. This richness in diversity is what makes Japanese snack culture so fascinating and enjoyable.

The good news is, you don't have to travel or swim across the ocean to Japan to experience these delightful treats! With our Japanese Snack Box Subscription, you can explore a wide variety of snacks, including these seafood delicacies, right from the comfort of your home. Each box is carefully curated every month to provide an authentic taste of Japan, with snacks sourced directly from their regions of origin.

From us here at JAPAN RAIL CLUB, we promise to curate the best snacks that embody the spirit of the season. Happy snacking!

Meet the author

Snack Lover

JAPAN RAIL CLUB's resident Snack Lover is on a mission to prove that there's a world of wonder within each snack! Whether in the form of a blog post or an info bite, find out more about the history, culture, and stories of each snack that Japan has to offer with Snack Lover. Snack Lover believes that it's not just about the snacks; it's about sharing, connecting, and creating unforgettable moments with loved ones.

Hungry for more?

Get on track with our monthly offerings of exclusive snacks from all over Japan!

Find what you’re interested in

Mount Fuji with tea plantation in the foreground
Sue Lynn

Happy Mount Fuji Day (23 February): 5 Ways to E...

Standing at 3,776m above sea level, the almost perfectly symmetrical Mount Fuji (富士山 Fujisan) is Japan’s highest mountain, and has become a symbol of the country, recognised worldwide for its...

Carissa Loh Travel

Happy Mount Fuji Day (23 February): 5 Ways to E...

Standing at 3,776m above sea level, the almost perfectly symmetrical Mount Fuji (富士山 Fujisan) is...

Happy Cat Day (22 February): 5 Cat Islands in Japan to Meet Feline Friends
Sue Lynn

Happy Cat Day (22 February): 5 Cat Islands in J...

Are you a cat (猫 neko) lover? If you’ve been to Japan, you might have noticed how beloved cats are over there. Think maneki-neko (招き猫) cat figurines that beckon luck,...

Carissa Loh Culture

Happy Cat Day (22 February): 5 Cat Islands in J...

Are you a cat (猫 neko) lover? If you’ve been to Japan, you might have...

In the Mood for Love: Romancing on Valentine’s Day in Japan
Sue Lynn

In the Mood for Love: Romancing on Valentine’s ...

Love is in the air in February with Valentine’s Day! On 14 February, Valentine’s Day is universally celebrated across the globe where presents like chocolates, candies, and flowers are gifted...

Wendy Ng Culture

In the Mood for Love: Romancing on Valentine’s ...

Love is in the air in February with Valentine’s Day! On 14 February, Valentine’s Day...

Romance Izu in the Air: 5 Romantic Spots in the Izu Peninsula
Sue Lynn

Romance Izu in the Air: 5 Romantic Spots in the...

With so many captivating attractions, you can spend days exploring the Izu Peninsula with your loved one, but where to start? Here are our top five picks for romantic dating...

Carissa Loh Travel

Romance Izu in the Air: 5 Romantic Spots in the...

With so many captivating attractions, you can spend days exploring the Izu Peninsula with your...

A Side Trip to Saitama: Discovering “Little Edo”, Cafes, and the Railway Museum
Sue Lynn

A Side Trip to Saitama: Discovering “Little Edo...

Located just about half an hour north of Central Tokyo, Ōmiya Station (大宮駅 Ōmiya-eki) is the gateway to the neighbouring Saitama Prefecture (埼玉県). It is also a stop on more...

JAPANKURU Travel

A Side Trip to Saitama: Discovering “Little Edo...

Located just about half an hour north of Central Tokyo, Ōmiya Station (大宮駅 Ōmiya-eki) is...

February Maker’s Story: Shizuoka-grown Wasabi by Kameya Foods
Sue Lynn

February Maker’s Story: Shizuoka-grown Wasabi b...

Are you familiar with wasabi (わさび)? Made from the Wasabia japonica plant, wasabi or the Japanese horseradish is a unique spice native to Japan and is a staple in Japanese...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

February Maker’s Story: Shizuoka-grown Wasabi b...

Are you familiar with wasabi (わさび)? Made from the Wasabia japonica plant, wasabi or the...

Winter Wonderland: 7 Snowiest Cities in Japan and Must-do Activities
Sue Lynn

Winter Wonderland: 7 Snowiest Cities in Japan a...

Winter season in Japan boasts some of its most amazing and picturesque sceneries, especially in regions lying alongside the Sea of Japan (日本海), otherwise known as Yukiguni (雪国), or Snow...

Dawn Sim Festival

Winter Wonderland: 7 Snowiest Cities in Japan a...

Winter season in Japan boasts some of its most amazing and picturesque sceneries, especially in...

Winter Wonders: 8 Winter Foods & Delicacies to Enjoy in Japan
Sue Lynn

Winter Wonders: 8 Winter Foods & Delicacies to ...

Winter in Japan is not just a season to enjoy snow activities and festivals; it’s also a time to indulge in winter cuisine as Japan is blessed with bountiful harvest...

Wendy Ng Food

Winter Wonders: 8 Winter Foods & Delicacies to ...

Winter in Japan is not just a season to enjoy snow activities and festivals; it’s...

Nuts About Chiba! Exploring Chiba, Peanuts, and Setsubun Culture
Sue Lynn

Nuts About Chiba! Exploring Chiba, Peanuts, and...

Have you been to Chiba Prefecture (千葉県)? Located in the Kanto Region and neighbouring Tokyo on its east, perhaps, unknowingly, you have already stepped foot into Chiba Prefecture. If you...

Carissa Loh Culture

Nuts About Chiba! Exploring Chiba, Peanuts, and...

Have you been to Chiba Prefecture (千葉県)? Located in the Kanto Region and neighbouring Tokyo...

More Than Just Disneyland! Exploring Hidden Gems in Every Corner of Chiba
Sue Lynn

More Than Just Disneyland! Exploring Hidden Gem...

Looking for a short getaway from the bustling crowds of Tokyo? Look no further than the prefecture of Chiba (千葉県). Contrary to the popular belief that “There is nothing much...

Dawn Sim Travel

More Than Just Disneyland! Exploring Hidden Gem...

Looking for a short getaway from the bustling crowds of Tokyo? Look no further than...

Happy Strawberry Day: 5 Must-Try Varieties of Strawberries in Japan
Sue Lynn

Happy Strawberry Day: 5 Must-Try Varieties of S...

Did you know that 15 January is Strawberry Day (イチゴの日 Ichigo-no-hi) in Japan? It comes from a word play on the date (“ichi” = one and “go” = five) and...

Carissa Loh Food

Happy Strawberry Day: 5 Must-Try Varieties of S...

Did you know that 15 January is Strawberry Day (イチゴの日 Ichigo-no-hi) in Japan? It comes...

Ichigo Ichie: Starting the New Year by Embracing Moments in Life
Sue Lynn

Ichigo Ichie: Starting the New Year by Embracin...

As the New Year’s celebrations and confetti settles, we enter the new year with new hopes and wishes. The start of the new year marks a good checkpoint in our...

Wendy Ng Culture

Ichigo Ichie: Starting the New Year by Embracin...

As the New Year’s celebrations and confetti settles, we enter the new year with new...

Seijin no Hi: Exploring Japan’s Coming-of-Age Day
Sue Lynn

Seijin no Hi: Exploring Japan’s Coming-of-Age Day

Seijin-no-Hi (成人の日) or Coming-of-Age Day is an important Japanese National Holiday, observed on the second Monday of January each year. The day serves as a rite of passage, celebrating and...

Carissa Loh Culture

Seijin no Hi: Exploring Japan’s Coming-of-Age Day

Seijin-no-Hi (成人の日) or Coming-of-Age Day is an important Japanese National Holiday, observed on the second...

January Maker’s Story: Chocolates with a Japanese Twist from Edogoshiya
Sue Lynn

January Maker’s Story: Chocolates with a Japane...

"What is a snack that would pair well with Japanese tea and is well-loved by all in Japan?", the makers of Edogoshiya wondered and found themselves in the world of...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

January Maker’s Story: Chocolates with a Japane...

"What is a snack that would pair well with Japanese tea and is well-loved by...

The Wonders of Citrus: 5 Varieties of Citruses Found in Japan
Sue Lynn

The Wonders of Citrus: 5 Varieties of Citruses ...

If you have been to Japan during the colder months between December to February, you will notice the sudden abundance in citruses such as yuzu (柚子・ゆず) and mikan (蜜柑・みかん mandarin...

Sue Lynn Food

The Wonders of Citrus: 5 Varieties of Citruses ...

If you have been to Japan during the colder months between December to February, you...

Ake Ome! Exploring the New Year Celebrations in Japan
Sue Lynn

Ake Ome! Exploring the New Year Celebrations in...

How is the New Year celebrated in Japan?  Let’s take a look at some of the traditions that have been influenced by Shinto, Buddhism, and modern beliefs!

Carissa Loh Culture

Ake Ome! Exploring the New Year Celebrations in...

How is the New Year celebrated in Japan?  Let’s take a look at some of...

Merikuri! Christmas in Japan: Exploring Traditions Old and New
Sue Lynn

Merikuri! Christmas in Japan: Exploring Traditi...

Said to be the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas is a holiday celebrated around the world, known as a time to get together with family and friends, and a...

Carissa Loh Festival

Merikuri! Christmas in Japan: Exploring Traditi...

Said to be the most wonderful time of the year, Christmas is a holiday celebrated around...

5 Must-Visit Ski Resorts To Visit Outside of Hokkaido: Exploring Japan's Best Slopes
Sue Lynn

5 Must-Visit Ski Resorts To Visit Outside of Ho...

Have you ever gone skiing or snowboarding in Japan? In Japan, although skiing as a means of transportation had been around for centuries in communities living in high snowfall areas,...

Carissa Loh Winter

5 Must-Visit Ski Resorts To Visit Outside of Ho...

Have you ever gone skiing or snowboarding in Japan? In Japan, although skiing as a...

December Maker's Story: Arida Mikan from Sowa Kajuen
Sue Lynn

December Maker's Story: Arida Mikan from Sowa K...

December is the month of citrus, including mikan or mandarin oranges from Arida! We caught up with Mr. Ueyama (上山) from Sowa Kajuen from Arida City, Wakayama Prefecture to find...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

December Maker's Story: Arida Mikan from Sowa K...

December is the month of citrus, including mikan or mandarin oranges from Arida! We caught...

December Maker’s Story: Yuzu from Umaji Village in Kochi
Sue Lynn

December Maker’s Story: Yuzu from Umaji Village...

Umaji Village is known as the Village of Yuzu! We had a chat with Mr. Iwasada (岩貞) of Umaji Village Agricultural Co-operative, to find out more about the village of...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

December Maker’s Story: Yuzu from Umaji Village...

Umaji Village is known as the Village of Yuzu! We had a chat with Mr....

The Star of Japanese Vineyards: Understanding the Appeal of Kyoho Grapes
Sue Lynn

The Star of Japanese Vineyards: Understanding t...

 Where do Kyoho Grapes originate from? Japan's love for perfection and uniqueness has led to some incredible creations, and their grapes are no exception. Enter Kyoho grapes (巨峰), star-studded grapes...

Snack Lover Autumn

The Star of Japanese Vineyards: Understanding t...

 Where do Kyoho Grapes originate from? Japan's love for perfection and uniqueness has led to...

A Savoury and Sweet Guide to Kirimochi: Exploring Japan's Versatile Rice Cake
Sue Lynn

A Savoury and Sweet Guide to Kirimochi: Explori...

If you're intrigued by Japan’s unique food culture, you've likely heard about mochi (餅), a delightful culinary treat that's steeped in tradition and versatility. This versatile rice cake has a...

Snack Lover Food

A Savoury and Sweet Guide to Kirimochi: Explori...

If you're intrigued by Japan’s unique food culture, you've likely heard about mochi (餅), a...

A Celebration of Colour and Cuisine: Exploring Five of Japan’s Most Beautiful Autumn Destinations
Sue Lynn

A Celebration of Colour and Cuisine: Exploring ...

Unveiling Japan's Autumn Magic There's something undeniably magical about autumn in Japan. As the scorching summer retreats, it gives way to the cooler, softer, and gentler autumn season. The transformation...

Sue Lynn Autumn

A Celebration of Colour and Cuisine: Exploring ...

Unveiling Japan's Autumn Magic There's something undeniably magical about autumn in Japan. As the scorching...

November Maker’s Story: Ragueneau Sasaki from Hirosaki City, Aomori
Sue Lynn

November Maker’s Story: Ragueneau Sasaki from H...

It’s time to “fall” in love with autumn! At JAPAN RAIL CLUB, we are delighted to bring you the flavours of Japan’s autumn in this month’s “Autumn Breeze” Omiyage Snack...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

November Maker’s Story: Ragueneau Sasaki from H...

It’s time to “fall” in love with autumn! At JAPAN RAIL CLUB, we are delighted...

A Beginner's Guide to Aki (秋): The Best Period, Spots, and Tips to Enjoy Japan's Autumn
Sue Lynn

A Beginner's Guide to Aki (秋): The Best Period,...

When is the best time and where are the best places to enjoy autumn in Japan? Here is a beginner’s guide to Japan’s autumn.

Wendy Ng Autumn

A Beginner's Guide to Aki (秋): The Best Period,...

When is the best time and where are the best places to enjoy autumn in...

From Beans to Brew: Exploring Japanese Coffee Culture
Sue Lynn

From Beans to Brew: Exploring Japanese Coffee C...

About Japanese Coffee When people think about beverages from Japan, tea usually comes to mind. But, let's not overlook Japan's robust coffee culture. Coffee, or kōhī (コーヒー) as it's called...

Snack Lover

From Beans to Brew: Exploring Japanese Coffee C...

About Japanese Coffee When people think about beverages from Japan, tea usually comes to mind....

One Ticket to Railway Day, Please: Exploring Japan's Railway History and Present
Sue Lynn

One Ticket to Railway Day, Please: Exploring Ja...

Japan is known for its efficient and extensive railway network, which plays a vital and integral role in the daily lives of millions of people. So it's only fitting that there...

Sue Lynn Festival

One Ticket to Railway Day, Please: Exploring Ja...

Japan is known for its efficient and extensive railway network, which plays a vital and...

Shopfront of a train themed lifestyle shop Trainiart in Tokyo Station
Sue Lynn

October Maker’s Story: Railway Goods from TRAIN...

In line with the theme of “Tetsudo Encounters” this month, it's only fitting that we feature a snack from the shelves of TRAINIART. We recently visited the Gransta Tokyo Station...

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

October Maker’s Story: Railway Goods from TRAIN...

In line with the theme of “Tetsudo Encounters” this month, it's only fitting that we...

Behold the Harvest Moon: Exploring Japan's Otsukimi Festival
Sue Lynn

Behold the Harvest Moon: Exploring Japan's Otsu...

One festival stands out after the succession of extravagant firework and dance festivals as summer draws to a close. From the mesmerising full-moon-viewing practices to savouring delicious tsukimi dango, Otsukimi offers an...

Sue Lynn Festival

Behold the Harvest Moon: Exploring Japan's Otsu...

One festival stands out after the succession of extravagant firework and dance festivals as summer...

Taiyaki
Sue Lynn

The Art of Japanese Sweets: Exploring Tradition...

From the traditional wagashi to modern adaptations, Japanese sweets are a delightful exploration of taste and tradition. Let's embark on a journey to discover the art of Japanese sweets—such as...

Sue Lynn Japanese Snacks

The Art of Japanese Sweets: Exploring Tradition...

From the traditional wagashi to modern adaptations, Japanese sweets are a delightful exploration of taste...

Savour the Ocean: Exploring Must-Try Japanese Seafood Snacks
Sue Lynn

Savour the Ocean: Exploring Must-Try Japanese S...

If there's one thing Japan is known for, it's the country's incredible range of seafood. Surrounded by the sea, Japan's geographic position has significantly influenced its culinary traditions, with seafood...

Snack Lover Japanese Snacks

Savour the Ocean: Exploring Must-Try Japanese S...

If there's one thing Japan is known for, it's the country's incredible range of seafood....

Friendly staff at Japanese snack shop
Sue Lynn

September Maker's Story: Rabbit motif snacks fr...

Hailing from Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Hamausagi has been making rabbit-themed snacks and confections for over 90 years.

Sue Lynn Maker's Story

September Maker's Story: Rabbit motif snacks fr...

Hailing from Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture, Hamausagi has been making rabbit-themed snacks and confections for over...

japan festival food yakisoba
Sue Lynn

What your favourite Japanese summer festival fo...

During the hot months of July and August, summer festivals (夏祭り natsu matsuri) are held all around Japan where celebrations take shape in the form of mesmerising dances (Awa Odori,...

Sue Lynn Festival

What your favourite Japanese summer festival fo...

During the hot months of July and August, summer festivals (夏祭り natsu matsuri) are held...

5 Exciting Fireworks Festivals in East Japan during Summer
Sue Lynn

5 Exciting Fireworks Festivals in East Japan du...

Summer in Japan is incomplete without a spectacle of fireworks! East Japan, where major cities like Tokyo, Sendai, Nagano, and Yokohama are located, is home to many exciting displays of...

Sue Lynn Summer

5 Exciting Fireworks Festivals in East Japan du...

Summer in Japan is incomplete without a spectacle of fireworks! East Japan, where major cities...

8 reasons why people are buying Japanese snacks
Sue Lynn

8 reasons why people are buying Japanese snacks

Visit Japan and you'll notice the wide array of Japanese snacks that make for the best souvenirs to bring home to your family and friends. From unique flavours to seasonal...

Sue Lynn Japanese Snacks

8 reasons why people are buying Japanese snacks

Visit Japan and you'll notice the wide array of Japanese snacks that make for the...

Marine Day: Exploring Umi no Hi and how it is celebrated in Japan
Sue Lynn

Marine Day: Exploring Umi no Hi and how it is c...

Marine Day, also known as "Umi no Hi" (海の日) in Japan, is a national holiday that celebrates Japan’s ocean and maritime activities. Unlike traditional festivals and holidays that are often...

Sue Lynn Culture

Marine Day: Exploring Umi no Hi and how it is c...

Marine Day, also known as "Umi no Hi" (海の日) in Japan, is a national holiday...