5 Most Popular Types Of Tuna Used In The Japanese Cuisine

It’s hard to find a Japanese restaurant that doesn’t serve some type of tuna. Over the years, sushi has become more popular in America and around the world, different types of seafood have been added to menus.

Tuna is the most popular, especially in Japan and it is because of their fleshiness and large size. There are different types of tuna available that differ in their taste, flavor, and color. Here are five of the common types of sushi you’ll find in Japanese cuisine. These five varieties include bluefin tuna, albacore, bigeye, yellowfin, and skipjack.

If you’ve ever been curious about the difference between these varieties or what they taste like, we recommend giving them a try. Bluefin tuna is usually one of the first ones that are used for sushi at high-end restaurants, but these, kind of have a big price tag.

It can cost up to a hundred bucks per pound. Regardless of the cost, any of the five varieties listed below will taste delicious with fresh wasabi and soy sauce!


Bluefin Tuna

This fish is best served raw in sushi because its texture tends to get tougher when cooked. Bluefin tuna can be instantly distinguished with its bright red flesh color when raw, but after being exposed to heat, its meat color turns lighter. This fish is the priciest of all types so if bluefin tuna happens to be your favorite, you better save up for it because other than dining at high-end restaurants, it’s quite hard to find one in specialty shops.

Bluefin tuna meat is very soft and tender and melts so easily once it touches your mouth. You can even mix bluefin tuna with caviar or salmon roe to make a more delicious sushi dish!

To serve or make sushi out of bluefin tuna sushi chefs prepare this fish by cutting them into sashimi slices only after removing their fat which is between the first and second layer of their flesh.

It is usually served raw, but cooking it does not take much time because it has been kept alive till the point of preparation. Its flavor possesses a distinct taste when compared to other types. This fish is also known for having high levels of triglycerides which are better than cholesterol and this gives one energy without causing fat accumulation on your body.

Bluefin tuna has three types that have been placed in the same category because of their similar taste and flavor. They include Atlantic bluefin, Southern bluefin, and Pacific bluefin.

  • Atlantic Bluefin is found in the northern Atlantic Ocean and is also known as ahi. This fish lives longer than others so it has more fat which makes its meat richer in flavor.
  • Southern bluefin tuna are found in the southern latitudes of the Indian Ocean and have a lesser flavor than Atlantic bluefin tuna. This type can grow up to two meters long and contains less fat compared to other types. It is served better when cooked because its flavor is strong and thus overpowers the taste of other ingredients.
  • Pacific bluefin tuna can be found in the southern Pacific Ocean near Australia and New Zealand, but they are also available west coast of the United States and Mexico. Pacific bluefin tuna is considered to have the most unique taste because of the cold oceanic water where they swim. However, this type of tuna gets too big that it loses its tenderness and becomes very tough upon cooking so it is best served raw unless you intend to cook them into large chunks for sashimi or sushi dishes.

Related article: Best Seafood Appetizers That Will Blow Your Mind!

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Albacore tuna

It is also known as the Kanpachi Tuna. This type of tuna is very popular in Japan and it has a pink flesh color that turns white when it is cooked. The raw albacore tuna has a darker red-meat-like appearance and it’s also the leanest type of tuna, but the cooked one can be mistaken with that of chicken breast.

This tuna fish is also mild in taste and it is best for those who are just eating sushi for the first time. These tuna fishes come from the family of Thunnidae. Albacore tuna lives for about 12 years and they are usually caught in the Pacific Ocean. It is best to eat albacore raw because if you cook it, its texture becomes tougher.

The sushi made from these tuna fish is the best, mainly because it has a mild taste that is not strong and will not overwhelm the other sushi ingredients. It is also like eating raw meat but it doesn’t have any gamy smell at all, which makes this tuna fish one of the most preferred types for those who are fond of eating raw food.

The albacore tuna has a higher fat content than other kinds of tunas but with its low levels of cholesterol, it’s still considered healthy.

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Bigeye Tuna / Ahi Tuna

These large-eyed fishes have a dark pink meat color when raw and look very much like red snapper, but after cooking they turn into white flaky chunks and have fewer calories than other types of tuna available. Although bigeye tuna has its sweet fleshy appearance, it has got a large variety in taste when compared with other types.

It possesses flavors from different areas such as the North Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, and the Atlantic Ocean which means it can have a salty or sweet flavor according to its origin.

The majority of them have more of a salty flavor that one can relate to that of anchovies or mackerels. The sweetest tasting big eye comes from the waters around Japan and Hawaii while the sourest ones come from Northwest Africa’s Atlantic waters. Which is also known as “Akanagi”.

Plus, it has very little flesh fats that is why they are known as “maguro with bones”.

This type of tuna is most often used in chirashi sushi and kabayaki dishes as well as sashimi pieces with wasabi.

The bigeye tuna looks similar to albacore, but it has a lower oil content and higher collagen that implies its meat will be more tender when cooked. This fish can be eaten fresh or cooked whole or in sashimi pieces. It is best served at room temperature with no sauces or seasonings added. It tastes a little bit sweet on its own because of the presence of myoglobin which gives its flesh that pinkish color.

Related: 9 Best Fish Batters You HAVE To Try

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Yellowfin Tuna

It’s commonly known as Hamachi and its flesh has a yellowish-orange color to it. They have a softer taste than those of bigeye but are still considered a very tasty choice in sushi and sashimi dishes. They are mostly used raw when preparing the sushi because it turns white after cooking.

However, there are times when this fish is cooked right before serving so that you can taste its best flavor. Some people prefer to add wasabi on top of their yellowfin tuna sushi together with ginger slices for added flavors.

For a long time, this tuna was considered to be mainly found in waters near Australia and New Zealand, but now they are seen in other parts of the world as well including the western and central Pacific Ocean.

It contains many fat and oils so it has a lot of flavors compared to other varieties.

The yellowfin tuna fish starts growing at the age of two making it one of the fastest-growing tuna species around. They are known to reach maturity by only four months after birth, which makes them “rabbits” among fishes with regard to the growth rate.

Rising demand for fresh sushi dishes coupled with the fact that they grow fast make yellowfin tuna extremely valuable especially when sold live before being processed into other forms such as frozen or canned ones.

Related: Top 5 Fish You Should Try Grilling This Summer

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Skipjack Tuna

Its meat has a color-tinted on the paler side compared to those of albacore and yellowfin, but some skipjack tuna looks pale pink just like salmon flesh does while others look brownish-grey depending on which part they come from.

This type of fish has a special texture that most people who have never tried skipjack will find hard to like or even enjoy. The best way to eat this kind of tuna is the same as how you would eat anchovies and sardines – just add soy sauce and wasabi!

Skipjack tuna is found in all the world’s oceans, but it is most abundant in the Pacific seas. It is considered to be a species of tuna that lives in deep waters and so is easily targeted. This kind of fish can be caught commercially around December to February, but it is also quite commonly sold frozen as well. In Japan, skipjack is eaten mainly during the months of May and June when they are fattest.

Recently this type of tuna has become famous for being used in sushi rolls specially made with different textures including soft ones which means that not everyone will like eating it raw! When you eat them cooked or boiled they taste just like any other type of tuna – good & Yum!

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