Sashimi (刺身) is thinly sliced, raw food. It is one of the most famous dishes in the Japanese cuisine. Seafood is most commonly eaten as sashimi, but other meats (such as beef, horse and deer) and foods (such as yuba tofu skin and konnyaku) can also be served as sashimi. Some people confuse sashimi with sushi. Unlike sashimi, sushi includes vinegared rice.

Sashimi dishes are available at many types of restaurants and at most izakaya. They are also popularly used in teishoku set meals and are a standard element of traditional kaiseki course meals. The slices of raw food are often presented arranged atop of a bed of shredded daikon and garnished with shiso leaves. At some restaurants, the rest of the fish is sometimes presented alongside the sashimi as decoration.

How to eat sashimi

Most types of sashimi are seasoned with soy sauce by dipping each piece into a small dish of soy sauce before eating it. It is usually the diners' responsibility to fill the small dishes with soy sauce, and it is good manner to pour only as much soy sauce as needed.

Depending on the type of sashimi, a little bit of wasabi or ground ginger may be added to the sashimi piece. This is most elegantly done by dabbing the wasabi or ginger directly onto the pieces of sashimi (as opposed to mixing it into the soy sauce). Some people also enjoy eating the daikon and shiso garnishes; both vegetables have a fresh, minty taste.

Popular types of sashimi

The following are some of the more common types of sashimi that travelers are likely to encounter during their trip in Japan. Most of them are available nationwide and year round, except for where noted.

Maguro (tuna)

Sake (salmon)

Tai (sea bream)

Saba (mackerel)

Katsuo (bonito or skipjack tuna)

Kanpachi (greater yellowtail/amberjack)

Buri/hamachi (yellowtail or amberjack)

Shellfish and mollusks

Ika (squid)

Tako (octopus)

Amaebi (shrimp)

Hotate (scallop)

Hokkigai (surf clam)

Roe and millet

Ikura (salmon roe)

Uni (sea urchin)