Kurozukuri: Toyama’s Chinmi Black Squid Shiokara

Have you ever heard of the Japanese “Chinmi (珍味: food delicacy)” “Shiokara (塩辛)”? 

As I wrote about it in this article, Shiokara is a traditional Japanese food made by fermenting salted seafood such as fish, shellfish, or squid guts.

Shiokara comes in various varieties, among which, Squid Shiokara, or “Ika no Shiokara (イカの塩辛)” is the most common and widely enjoyed.

But some Shiokara varieties are eaten only locally, which include what I introduce here, Toyama’s specialty “Kurozukuri (黒作り)”.

Kuro-Zukuri (黒作り)

Toyama Kuro-Zukuri Ika no ShiokaraImage: shoku-toyama.jp

In a word, the Chinmi, Kuro-Zukuri is a blend of Ika no Shiokara and squid’s ink. In its name, “Kuro (黒)” means black in Japanese, while “Zukuri (作り)” stands for “making”, and its black color comes from the ink of squid. 

Regular Ika no Shiokara Aka-Zukuri

Incidentally, regular Ika no Shiokara has a reddish color and is sometimes called “Aka-Zukuri (赤作り)” as “Aka (赤)” means red in Japanese.

It is said that the origin of Kuro-Zukuri dates back to the Edo period, about 300 years ago, and now the black Ika no Shiokara is generally regarded as one of “Japan’s 3 Best Food Delicacies (新三大珍味)“.

As for the taste, featuring its deep taste from squid’s ink, Kuro-Zukuri goes especially well with pasta and can make the perfect pair with alcoholic beverages like sake.

Kuro-Zukuri has distinctive umami and is tasty, so if you have a plan to visit Toyama, I want you to try the black Ika no Shiokara at least once during your stay there.

(Reference Page: Wikipedia 黒作り )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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