Eating Japanese crab カニを食べましょう

Crab for sale at a market stall

More than a crustacean... an institution

If you're in Japan during winter, you'll no doubt admire the snowy temples and enjoy the various festivals, but make time to try the local specialties! Crab is a staple in winter dishes. Discover the types of crab you can eat in Japan and how it's prepared and consumed.


  • Zuwaigani

Also known as snow crab, zuwaigani is a tasty dish eaten especially in winter, but to prevent population decline it can only be harvested at this time of the year. It's found on the west coast of Japan, from northern Hokkaido to Tottori Prefecture. It's mainly the legs of this crab, long, fine and delicious, that have made it popular. The roe (egg) is also tasty with rice or sushi.


  • Tarabagani

Its legs can grow more than a meter long, and it's the largest of the king crabs. It is also known as the Kamtchakta crab is mainly found in the Russian waters of the Kamchakta Peninsula. Thanks to its impressive size, a single crab of this species is enough for a complete meal but save some room for desserts!

See also: Four amazing Japanese sweets


Tarabagani, the Hokkaido crab

Yoshimasa Yamaichi

Hanasaki crab

If you don't have the opportunity to visit the far north of Japan during your trip, there's a well-known chain of restaurants specializing in crab dishes, that you'll see throughout Japan. You will surely have noticed the giant mechanical crab if you've walked down Dotonbori street in Osaka. This is the famous storefront of Kani Doraku, where you can enjoy the best Hokkaido crab for around 7,000 yen ($61/54€) per person.

See also: Dotonbori, Osaka's nocturnal soul

The popular restaurant Kani Doraku in Osaka

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