Crab in Japan

Crab is one of Japan's most popular seafood dishes, to the extent that some even equate crab with the taste of winter. There are currently over 5,000 different types of crab living on the Earth, with approximately 1,000 of them located in Japan's territorial waters. Of these, more than ten are particularly cherished for their flavor and sold regularly on the market. While in Japan, why not sample the taste of Japan's winter and eat some crab?

How to Eat Crab

Depending on how you choose to eat a crab, its flavor changes. For sashimi, freshness is a must. Clear, transparent white meat and an enchanting sweetness await you here. When boiled, dipping the meat in vinegar while piping hot cannot be beat. A roasted brings out the savory flavors of the crab, and also gives it a delightful juiciness. This is highly recommended. A crab stew or hotpot, mixed with vegetables, extracts the flavors from both, creating a flavorful delight that warms the body and heart. Finally, pouring a bit of warm Japanese sake over the crab miso while still in the shell deepens the flavors, and is one of the finest ways to enjoy Japanese sake.

Crab is the king of Japan's winter foods. To help you sample the variety of delicious crab dishes throughout Japan, we have prepared a number of Japanese crab sampling tours. Experiencing Japan on the crab shell has never been better.

  • Horsehair Crab

    Living on the sea floor at depths of 30 to 200 meters is the Horsehair Crab. Found in both the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean, it grows to a maximum size of roughly 120 mm (shell only). Within Japan, Hokkaido Horsehair Crabs are particularly well-known.
    Horsehair Crabs are named so because of the spiky hairs that grow over their bodies. Compared to other crabs, their legs are short and bodies small, but the crab's miso (or crab innards) found in the shell are known for their deep, delicious flavor.

  • Snow Crab

    The Snow Crab is a deep-sea crab that lives primarily at depths between 200 and 600 meters, and can be found in both the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean. It grows to a maximum size of approximately 150 mm (shell only). In Japan, its name changes depending on the area in which it is caught, becoming either the Matsuba crab or the Echizen crab. Snow Crab tastes great no matter how it's eaten, so why not try eating it in a number of different ways?

  • Red King Crab

    The Red King Crab can be found in the Sea of Japan, and the Sea of Okhotsk off Hokkaido. Living on the sea floor at depths of 30 to 350 meters, it grows to a size of roughly 250 mm (shell only), one of Japan's largest crabs. One of the interesting characteristics of this crab is its relationship to the Hermit Crab, belonging to the same family. While its flavor is rather light, in terms of texture and sheer amount of meat, it is a crab well worth sampling.

  • Hanasaki Crab

    The Hanasaki Crab is living at depths of 50 to 200 meters, and can be found off the north east coast of Hokkaido in both the Pacific Ocean and Sea of Okhotsk. It grows to approximately 150 mm (shell only). The notable characteristic of the Hanasaki Crab is its spiny body. The origin of its name (Hana (flower) saki (bloom), or blooming flower) was given to it because, when boiled, it turns a bright red. Its flavor is said to be quite sweet, and the eggs of the female are prized as delicacies in Japan.