Types of Sushi

sushi types

In Japan, we have different indigenous food right from salmon to tuna. These edibles are found in the entire country throughout the year, but more importantly, we have the popular food named Sushi.

Sushi generally is seasonal. Tourist visiting Japan for hike and creation, have a chance to explore a variety of restaurant promoting the exploitation of seafood. If you visit the sea shores around Japan in the early morning hours, you will not fail to meet fishers entering and leaving the sea with the solemn aim of fishing for Sushi preparation.

For more details about Sushi, read through our list of types of sushi, and learn a thing or two about this delicacy.



Makizushi is commonly referred to as norimaki among Japanese. This applies to a Sushi type rolled with rice and other ingredients in nori seaweed sheet sliced into small pieces. Makizushi is believed to have come to existence in the 1700s immediately after nori sheet was invented using similar techniques for papermaking. Norimaki comes from two popular words, ‘Maki’ which means to roll and ‘nori’ which refer to a toasted sheet of nori seaweed used to wrap the ingredients.

With Hosomaki which are long thin rolls that features a single ingredient such as tuna strip, pickled daikon or cucumber, Makizushi has the Futomaki. In Futomaki, futo means fat and is generally a thick variety of Makizushi that includes a combination of complimentary ingredients. In Foreign countries, Sushi is less likely to appear in restaurants though it’s found in bento boxes and supermarkets.

 Makizushi has been made modern with the introduction of Uramaki. Uramaki in English is the ‘Inside-out sushi’ invented in California in the 1960s. Uramaki is prepared by laying rice on a bamboo sushi mat and then laying nori sheet at the top. Other ingredients are added before rolling is done. Uramaki is later rolled onto sesame seed that sticks at the exterior rice or topped with tobiko fish egg that gives extra crunch to the food.

Gunkan Maki

Gunkan Maki

Another type of Sushi you will find in Japan restaurant is Gunkan maki. Maki generally means rolled or wrapped and was discovered in Ginza sushi motel around the 1940s. Gunkan Maki is made by wrapping wide nori strip around rice ball and leaving enough space on the top which is filled with ingredients.

Gunkan Maki name is translated as battleship or warship Sushi which comes from its shape that resembling a small ship. The most popular topping of Maki is the uni sea urchin, salmon, squid, potato salad, negitoro, kanimiso, and roe. Gunkan Maki typically is found in takeaways, bento boxes, and most Sushi restaurants.



The original Sushi that is widely known and in the market nowadays in Japan is the Nigiri. Among Japanese natives, Nigiri is known as Edo-mae which means “in front of Edo.” The name generally refers to its place of origin which is Tokyo formerly known as Edo.

Nigiri is made from hand-pressed rice cylinder known as Shari topped with various ingredients like the net. This type of Sushi was initially invented as fast food by a renowned enterprising Sushi chef who was working in Edo areas around the 1880s. Due to the high number of workers in the area, the chef decided to sell freshly made Sushi to workers at a low price since they could not find affordable the cost of food staffs around the city.

The topping of Nigiri is seafood, vegetables, omelets, meat, and tofu. On top of fresh seafood, fish is pickled with soy sauce and sometimes vinegar or boiled together with a blowtorch. Additionally, a pure lining of garnishes and the marinade like spring onions, chives, and shaves onions are added to get more flavor to Nigiri.



Sasa in Japan is a name from the bamboo leaf where sasazushi is Sushi consisting of rice and bamboo leaves as the toppings. People familiar with Sasazushi claims that this Sushi type originated from Nagano prefecture at the times of Warring States between 1467- 1573. Most old Japanese links the origin of this Sushi to the fact that it was served with bamboo leaves or residents of Nagano were on a mission to find a meal that would impress Samurai warlords and the Uesugi Kenshin at times.

Sasazushi is served with wild vegetables such as toppings like Mugwort and bamboo shoots, miso, shredded fish, mushrooms, salmon and the walnuts.



Before refrigeration was invented, people would preserve fish as well as other products using fermentation technique. Among Japanese dish kept for years using salt and rice on the fermentation method is the Narezushi. This dish dates back to Nara periods of 710 to 794. Narezushi is the original form of Sushi where at eating time, rice was discarded off. Sushi is enjoyed in modern-day Japan is linked to Narezushi Sushi origin.

As time erupted, the period of fermentation becomes shorter, making the rice able to be eaten together with fish. This occurrence gave way to more varieties of Sushi that are present in the present day Japan.

Due to the extreme pungent flavor of Narezushi, its popularity has gone down at an excessive rate among new Japanese generation. Funazushi of the Shiga prefecture that is related to Narezushi is popular and made from Nigorobuna fish found near Lake Biwa. Majority of Japanese refer to Funazushi as a regional delicacy since it takes up to five years of fermentation, making them more expensive.

Kakinoha Zushi

Kakinoha Zushi

Among the most delicious Sushi delicacy pressed and wrapped with leaves is the Kokinoha Zushi. It originates from Nara region of western Japan which dates back to Edo times. Kakinoha is covered with Kaki leaf for preservation. Since Nara is a landlocked area, fresh seafood during transportation was wrapped in persimmon leaves as a preservative before the introduction of refrigeration technology.

The leaves not only acted to preserve fish together with its antibacterial properties but also added a delicate aroma.  Kakinoha Zushi is made by placing salmon or the mackerel at the top of rice but can include other ingredients such as prawn or the eel. Kakinoha is the most popular Omiyage (souvenir) for a visitor in Japan. Kakinoha Zushi is sold in local restaurants, train stations and local stores of Japan.



According to the Japanese language, Chirashizushi means ‘scattered sushi’ and is a rice bowl topped with different ingredients. The topping used include the pieces of salmon, boiled prawns, omelet, squid, shredded, and the cucumber. Chirashizushi is similar to Kaisendon (a Japanese rice bowl topped with seafood) where the significant difference is that Chirashizushi uses vinegar Sushi rice while Kaisendon uses white plain rice already steamed.

Chirashizushi is available throughout Japan in most stores, supermarket and food courts. In most cases, this dish is included as a bento box feature or enjoyed like a stand-alone meal due to its wide range of ingredients. Chirashizushi is decorative and more bejeweled, making it the most famous for serving in celebratory occasions.

Inari zushi


Among all Sushi varieties taken in Japan, Inari zushi is the unique of all dishes. The most notable difference is that it does not contain any fish and has a unique sweet flavor. Inari is like a pouch piece of aburage which is a deep fried-tofu simmered in mirin seasoning, sugar, soy sauce, or the dashi.

Inari Zushi is named from Shinto god, Inari, who has had a fondness for tofu. Inari is seasoned and filled with vinegar with sushi rice that creates a sweet taste delicious dish. Inari Sushi, however, is filled with rice that has a mixture of ingredient or rice topped with ingredients like mushroom, chives, boiled prawns, squids or the shredded omelet. Inari-Zushi has high versatility, portability, and ease the way of making an aspect that makes it the most popular Sushi in Japan.



Among the less known but more delicious Sushi overseas you will rarely find in Japan restaurants is the Temari. Though this dish is the simplest to make in homes given that it doesn’t take up a technical recipe, it’s still less famous to Japanese.

Temari is made using a small round ball of pressed rice topped using a thin layer of fish or any other ingredients. The name Temari comes from traditional Japanese embroidered ball which generally means ‘handball’. Temari dish is colorful and decorative and is taken mostly in parties, and picnics or made for traditional girls day celebration referred to as Hinamatsuri. When preparing Temari for hiking, it’s advisable to use cured or sometimes cooked seafood instead of raw sashimi.



Temaki is another Sushi type that has a shape that looks more of an ice cream cone. During preparation, rice and other ingredients are held in a nori sheet then wrapped to a conical shape. Since Temaki is simple to make, it’s popular in a most Japanese restaurant and domestic homes.

We have various types of Temaki that include Umeboshi, which is pickled plum, negitoro, natto, and the famous omelet that is sweetened.



Lastly, in our list of sushi types is the Oshizushi, also called Hakozushi or boxed sushi. This sushi type is shaped strikingly with origin from Osaka. Oshizushi is made by placing ingredients on Oshiwaku (a regular box) and later pressing them together. After pressing, it’s layered with toppings and cut into angular shapes such as rectangle, square or triangles.

Oshizushi toppings include fish such as mackerel and gizzard shad or a times decorative edibles like bamboo. Toppings are placed in a particular arrangement, i.e., diagonally, or from end to end of the fish an aspect that makes Oshizushi popular choice as gifts and in bento boxes.

Sushi generally is a delicious food among Japanese that every tourist should have a taste. It’s more nutritious than cooked fish where a single bite guarantees you healthy body throughout. Happy Sushi eating times!

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