23 Types of Nigiri Sushi You Should Know

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Sushi is a popular dish in Japan, and there are many different types of sushi to choose from.

If you’re planning on traveling to Japan, it’s important to know the different kinds of sushi and different flavors you can order.

Japanese dish Nigiri sushi types
Nigiri sushi types

You’re about to be introduced to 23 different types of nigiri sushi.

Let’s get started!

What Is Nigiri Sushi

Nigiri sushi is a type of sushi made with white rice and fish.

It is one of the most popular types of sushi in Japan and can be found in sushi restaurants all over the world.

Nigiri sushi Japanese food
Nigiri sushi explained

Nigiri sushi is made by shaping the rice into small balls or ovals, using a little bit of water to make it stick together.

The fish is then placed on top of the rice and held together with a strip of nori (seaweed).

Nigiri sushi is different from the traditional idea of what you think sushi might look like.

Maki sushi is made as a log with fillings in the middle, surrounded by rice, wrapped in seaweed, and then cut into slices.

Instead of looking like a bullseye, think of nigiri as a stack.

1. Maguro Nigiri Sushi

Maguro nigiri sushi types
Maguro sushi

This is probably the most popular type of nigiri sushi, made with raw tuna that has been seasoned with soy sauce and wasabi.

2. Amber Jack Nigiri Sushi

Amber Jack nigiri sushi types
Amber Jack nigiri sushi

There are actually two types of nigiri sushi that are made using amberjack fish:

  • The first is buri nigiri, made from full-sized amberjack fish.
  • The second type is hamachi nigiri, which is made from smaller, younger fish and has a sweeter taste.

3. Uni Nigiri Sushi

Uni nigiri sushi types
Uni nigiri sushi

Uni is the edible part of the sea urchin, a small, spiky creature living in the ocean.

It has a slightly sweet taste and a creamy texture, making it a popular choice for nigiri sushi.

4. Salmon Nigiri Sushi

Salmon Nigiri Sushi types
Salmon Nigiri Sushi

Salmon is a type of pinkish-orange fish that is fairly common in Japanese cuisine.

It is often served grilled or smoked, but can also be eaten raw on nigiri sushi.

5. Tai Nigiri Sushi

Tai nigiri sushi types
Tai nigiri sushi

Tai is a type of red snapper that is commonly used in Japanese cuisine.

It has a milder flavor than some of the other fish on this list, making it a good choice for those who are not fans of sushi with a strong fishy taste.

6. Ikura Nigiri Sushi

Ikura nigiri sushi types
Ikura nigiri sushi

Ikura are the eggs of a salmon that have been salted and cured.

They have a slightly sweet taste and a soft, jelly-like texture.

7. Anago Nigiri Sushi

Anago nigiri sushi types
Anago nigiri sushi

Anago is a type of saltwater eel that is commonly used in Japanese cuisine.

It has a milder flavor than other eels, such as unagi, but isn’t as common.

8. Unagi Nigiri Sushi

unagi nigiri sushi types
Unagi nigiri sushi

Unagi, on the other hand, is a freshwater eel that is very popular in Japanese cuisine.

It is marinated in a special sauce and then grilled.

9. Tako Nigiri Sushi

Tako nigiri sushi types
Tako nigiri sushi

Tako is octopus that has been cooked and then cut into small pieces to be used as toppings for nigiri sushi or other types of sushi rolls.

10. Ika Nigiri Sushi

Ika nigiri sushi types
Ika nigiri sushi

Ika nigiri sushi is a type of nigiri sushi that is made with squid.

The squid is usually fresh, and the nigiri sushi is typically made with white rice.

Ika nigiri sushi is a popular choice for those who enjoy seafood, and it can be found at many Japanese restaurants.

11. Kani Nigiri Sushi

Kani nigiri sushi types
Kani nigiri sushi

Kani nigiri sushi is one of the most popular types of nigiri sushi.

It is made with crab meat, either real or imitation and rice. To elevate the flavors, kani nigiri is often topped with avocado or cucumber.

12. Hokkigai Nigiri Sushi

Hokkigai nigiri sushi types
Hokkigai nigiri sushi

Hokkigai are small clams that are commonly found in the surf along beaches in Japan.

They have a mild and slightly sweet taste. The nigiri sushi made with hokkigai is typically garnished with a small amount of shredded daikon radish.

13. Inari Nigiri Sushi

Inari nigiri sushi types
Inari nigiri sushi

Inari are rice balls that are wrapped in sweetened tofu skins and then fried until they are crispy on the outside but still soft on the inside.

They are often used as fillings for hosomaki rolls but can also be enjoyed on their own as an accompaniment to other types of dishes such as soup or salad.

14. Tobiko Nigiri Sushi

tobiko nigiri sushi types
Tobiko nigiri sushi

Tobiko are flying fish eggs that have been marinated in soy sauce and then rolled in seaweed.

They offer a bright orange pop of color and a slightly salty flavor that pairs well with sushi.

15. Smoked Salmon Nigiri Sushi

Smoked salmon nigiri sushi types
Smoked salmon nigiri sushi

This is a popular nigiri sushi type in the Western world.

Smoked salmon is salmon that has been cured with salt, sugar, and smoke.

The smoky flavor of the salmon compliments the rice and makes for a delicious and healthy nigiri sushi dish.

16. Shrimp Nigiri Sushi

Shrimp nigiri sushi types
Shrimp nigiri sushi

Shrimp nigiri can be ordered in three ways. The first is Amaebi nigiri.

This is made of small and sweet Alaskan shrimp that is served raw on rice.

Nama Ebi nigiri is made of blue shrimp that is served raw, and Ebi nigiri is made with blue shrimp that is boiled.

17. Negitoro Nigiri Sushi

Negitoro nigiri sushi type
Negitoro sushi

Toro refers to the fat from tuna belly, which has a rich flavor and melt-in-your-mouth texture.

It is considered one of the most premium ingredients for use in nigiri, so it is often served at high-end restaurants.

18. Hamaguri Nigiri Sushi

Hamaguri nigiri sushi types
Hamaguri nigiri sushi

Hamaguri nigiri sushi is a type of sushi made from hamaguri clams.

The clam is cooked and then placed on top of the sushi rice. This dish is often garnished with daikon radish or shiso leaves.

19. Kohada Nigiri Sushi

Kohada nigiri sushi types
Kohada sushi

Kohada nigiri sushi is made with gizzard shad, a type of fish that is common in Japan.

The fish is first marinated in vinegar and then grilled. The flavor of kohada nigiri sushi is slightly sweet and tangy.

20. Iwashi Nigiri Sushi

Iwashi nigiri sushi types
Iwashi nigiri sushi

Thinly sliced sardines are used to make iwashi nigiri sushi.

It’s a popular sushi type in Japan and is often eaten as an appetizer or side dish.

21. Aji Nigiri Sushi

Aji nigiri sushi types
Aji nigiri sushi

Aji nigiri sushi uses horse mackerel.

The fish is marinated in vinegar and soy sauce and served with wasabi and pickled ginger.

22. Engawa Nigiri Sushi

Engawa nigiri sushi types
Engawa nigiri sushi

Engawa is the thin strip of meat that runs along the edge of a fish fillet.

This is normally taken from a flounder or flatfish. This type of nigiri is said to be lighter and more delicate in taste than other nigiri sushi types.

23. Hotate Nigiri Sushi

Hotate nigiri sushi types
Hotate nigiri sushi

If you’re a fan of scallops, you’ll enjoy this nigiri sushi variation.

The hotate, or scallop, nigiri is simple yet delicious. It consists of a single seared scallop placed atop a ball of rice.

The scallop is usually served with a small dollop of wasabi and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Final Thoughts

These are just some of the many different types of Nigri you might come across while enjoying this delicious dish!

Whether you prefer your fish cooked or raw, there’s sure to be something on this list that will tantalize your taste buds!

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