Fish Egg and Soft Roe (Milt) of Japanese Food - Cod, Salmon, Herring しらこ・いくら・たらこ・かずのこ

Herring Roe かずのこ 数の子Food
Cod Soft Roe (Milt) 白子 しらこ

In Japan, fish eggs (roes) and milt of salmon, cod and other fish are popular. Of course, different people have different tastes, though.

I sometimes meet foreign tourists who don't want to eat them. However, there are several ways of cooking and eating them, so I'd like to recommend trying at least one while in Japan because authentic Japanese food is not what they can eat everyday.
Just give it a try! You might acquire a taste for it.

Cod Soft Roe (Milt)

Soft roe is called Shirako しらこ in Japanese.
Soft roe of cod is usually blanched, creamy and melts in your mouth. It is more inexpensive and popular than others such as salmon, blowfish (pufferfish) and so on.

Sushi Restaurant - KURASUSHI くら寿司

Cod Soft Roe (Milt) Sushi
たらしらこ 鱈白子 Tara-shirako
* It is topped on vinegared sushi rice.

At some sushi restaurants, Cod Soft Roe Sushi is topped with Ponzu Jelly.  (Ponzu: Citrus-flavored soy sauce)
Sushi Restaurant - KURASUSHI くら寿司
Pacific Cod Soft Roe/ Milt 真たら白子軍艦 - Sushi Go Round KAISEN MISAKIKO 回転寿司 海鮮三崎港

Cod Soft Roe (Milt) Sushi

Cod Soft Roe is popular as a winter seasonal food around November – February in Japan. However, some restaurants offer this sushi all year round.

Cod soft roe たら白子 - Kigurajyaya きぐら茶屋 - Izakaya 居酒屋

Pacific Cod Soft Roe (Milt) with vegetables
* This one is not sushi.

A restaurant that offers cod soft roe usually also offers citrus-flavored soy sauce (Ponzu ポン酢) and common soy sauce (Shoyu しょうゆ / 醤油) on the tables. Ponzu is better than common soy sauce to eat with cod soft roe. You can put the sauce on it as you like.

Cod soft roe is also good for tempura and hot pod / stew.

寿司屋の白子ポン酢の作り方 How to make Milt with Ponzu Sauce

Salmon Roe

Salmon Roe いくら

Salmon Roe
いくら Ikura

Salmon Roe いくら
Sushi Restaurant - KURASUSHI くら寿司
Salmon Roe Rice Bowl of UOKUSA in Ueno Tokyo 東京 上野 魚草 いくら丼
秋はやっぱりいくら丼 生筋子からいくら醤油漬け

Salted Salmon Roe

What the differences between Salmon Roe いくら Ikura and Salted Salmon Roe すじこ Sujiko are

 Salmon Roe
いくら Ikura
Salted Salmon Roe
すじこ Sujiko
FishSalmon, TroutSalmon, Trout
ProcessingEggs are separated, washed and seasoned.Eggs are still covered with the ovarian membrane and more natural.
Grown-upEnough, Big, A little hardYet, Smaller, Soft and smooth
SeasoningSake, Soy sauce and so onUsually salted (or Soy sauce)
ColorLight redA little dark red
Salted Salmon Roe すじこ

Salted Salmon Roe
すじこ Sujiko
I prefer Sujiko to Ikura.

Salmon Roe Soy Marinade すじこ 筋子

Cod Roe / Pollock Roe

Cod Roe / Pollock Roe たらこ 鱈子

Cod Roe
たらこ Tarako

Cod Roe / Pollock Roe たらこ 鱈子
Cod Roe / Pollock Roe たらこ 鱈子
All-You-Can-Eat MENTAIKO (Cod Roe) at a Restaurant SACHIFUKUYA さち福や in Saitama and Tokyo - 明太子 食べ放題
Do you like seasoned cod roe?It is called Mentaiko 明太子 in Japanese.When you want to eat a lot of Mentaiko you should go to the restaurant.

Spicy Cod / Pollock Roe

Spicy Cod / Pollock Roe 辛子明太子

Spicy Cod Roe
辛子明太子 Karashi-mentaiko
Cod roe is seasoned and marinated with hot pepper and so on.

Spicy Cod / Pollock Roe 辛子明太子
Sushi Making Experience at UOGASHI-SUSHI in Tokyo 東京 魚がし寿司 寿司握り体験

Upper left

Flying Fish Roe

When Flying Fish Roe is used, food coloring is sometimes added to color the eggs in red, orange, green, black and so on.

Tobiko とびこ Sushi 寿司
Flying Fish Roe とびこ 飛び子

Flying Fish Roe
とびこ Tobiko

California-roll カリフォルニアロール Sushi 寿司

It is used in California Roll.

Deep Fried Capelin with Roe

Deep Fried Lake Smelt ワカサギのから揚げ

Capelin with Roe
The female capelin sometimes has the roe and called 子持ちししゃも Komochi-shishamo.

Banpaiya 晩杯屋 Deep fried smelt わかさぎの唐揚げ

Hard Roe of Blowfish

Hard Roe of Blowfish ふぐ子のぬか漬け

Hard Roe of Blowfish
ふぐ子のぬか漬け Fuguko-no-nukazuke

It is a traditional fish delicacy in Ishikawa 石川 Prefecture. It tastes salty and good with sake.
Don't worry about blowfish poison. The roe is cooked nonpoisonous by licensed manufacturer.

Herring Roe

Sushi Restaurant - KURASUSHI くら寿司

Herring Roe Sushi
かずのこ Kazunoko

Herring Roe 数の子 寿司
Herring Roe かずのこ 数の子

Herring Roe かずのこ Kazunoko is one of the Japanese traditional dishes prepared especially for New Years celebrations.

A recipe for Herring Roe かずのこ Kazunoko will be updated later...

Salted Herring Roe 塩かずのこ 数の子
Salted Herring Roe 塩かずのこ 数の子

Get salted herring roe 塩かずのこ Shio-kazunoko.
It hasn't cooked yet.

Salted Herring Roe 塩かずのこ 数の子

It is too salty to eat before cooking.

Salted Herring Roe 塩かずのこ 数の子

Soak egg clumps into 1000cc water with one teaspoon of salt for 12 hours. At the period change the salt water 2 or 3 times.

Don't remove the salt too much from the salted herring roe.
Salted Herring Roe 塩かずのこ 数の子

When the ovarian membrane gets softer, peel it off until the whole membrane is completely removed. Otherwise, this thin casing will leave an unpleasant sinewy texture in your mouth.

Salted Herring Roe 塩かずのこ 数の子
Salted Herring Roe 塩かずのこ 数の子


  1. Mix these ingredients and boil.
  2. Let the seasoning cool down.
  3. Put the herring roe into the seasoning for 8 hours.
  4. Separate the herring roe and seasoning. Add some of the ingredients in the seasoning, if you like.
  5. Boil again only the seasoning.
  6. Let the seasoning cool down.
  7. Put the herring roe into the seasoning.
Don't boil the herring roe with the seasoning.
Herring Roe かずのこ 数の子
Keep refrigerated
Herring Roe かずのこ 数の子

Where to eat the foods:

100 or 200 Yen Conveyor-belt Sushi Restaurant (Sushi Go Round) KURA くら (KURASUSHI/ KURAZUSHI くら寿司) in Downtown Tokyo and all over Japan
One of my favorite conveyor-belt sushi restaurant chains is KURA くら (also called KURASUSHI / KURAZUSHI くら寿司). I usually go there every second month.
Kigurajyaya きぐら茶屋 - Izakaya 居酒屋 located 2 stations away from Oshiage 押上 Station (Tokyo Skytree) in Tokyo
ThisJapanese style bar restaurant (called Izakaya) offers great seafood, especially sashimi.Their grilled chicken on a skewer is also tasty.This Izakaya is kind of unknown for tourists, because it is not situated in downtown Tokyo.