Japan’s 3 Best “Chinmi” Food Delicacies

When it comes to Japanese food delicacies “Chinmi (珍味: literally meaning Rare Taste)”, sea urchin, or “Uni (雲丹)” is especially famous and widely enjoyed as a sushi ingredient. 

Japan’s 3 Best Chinmi

In fact, Uni has been regarded as one of “Japan’s 3 Best Chinmi” since the Edo period (Edo: 1603 to 1868) and the other two are “Karasumi (カラスミ)” and “Konowata (このわた)”. 

Karasumi is salted dried mullet roe that Nagasaki Prefecture boasts, while Konowata is Shiokara made from sea cucumber’s guts, which is known as a specialty of Aichi Prefecture.

In addition to this old edition, today, the new edition of “Japan’s 3 Best Chinmi” exists, and the 3 Japanese delicacies are “Kusaya (くさや)”, “Funazushi (鮒寿司)”, and “Kurozukuri (黒作り)”.

Kusaya (くさや)

Kusaya dried fish

Have you ever heard of “Kusaya (くさや)“? It is actually dried fish that is a specialty Chinmi of the Izu Island chain, Tokyo.

Kusaya is made by fermenting fish, such as horse mackerel and flying fish, in the fermented brine with a characteristic smell and flavor called “Kusaya Eki (くさや液)” and dried.

Kusaya is infamous for its stinky odor. Especially when the fish is grilled, an awfully bad smell spreads and fills the air.

But despite the stench, Kusaya is actually delicious and is known as a healthy food with plenty of umami.

Funazushi (鮒寿司)


Next, Funazushi is the ancient sushi that Shiga Prefecture prides itself on, which is also a smelly food made by fermenting crucian carps and rice together using lactic bacteria. 

The yellow thing in the fish is actually roe with a smell and texture similar to cheese, and despite its unpleasant smell, Funazushi is tasty like Kusaya.

Kurozukuri (黒作り)


Lastly, Kurozukuri is salted fermented squid with a black color that is a regional delicacy of Toyama. It is a kind of “Ika no Shiokara (イカの塩辛)” made by combining the squid Shiokara with squid’s ink.

So the black color of the Chinmi comes from squid’s ink, and from that, this Shiokara also gets lots of umami.

(Reference Page: Wikipedia 日本三大一覧 )


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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