Zuwaigani vs. Beni Zuwaigani Crab: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to the Kani (カニ: meaning crab) widely enjoyed in my country, many people’s favorites include Zuwaigani (ズワイガニ) and Beni Zuwaigani (紅ズワイガニ).

In English, Zuwaigani is known as snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio), while Beni Zuwaigani is red snow crab (Chionoecetes japonicus).

Zuwaigani vs. Beni Zuwaigani

Although both Zuwaigani and Beni Zuwaigani belong to the genus Chionoecetes, these crabs are different in species; the former is Opilio, whereas the latter is Japonicus.

Other than the classification, there are several differences between the two, and today I will talk about that.


Zuwaigani Beni Zuwaigani
Zuwaigani Beni Zuwaigani

First, as Beni (紅) means red in Japanese, Beni Zuwaigani’s entire body is redder than Zuwaigani’s. Besides, once boiled, the red color becomes more intense.


While Zuwaigani lives on the continental shelf of the Japan Sea at a depth of about 200 to 400 meters, Beni Zuwaigani inhabits the deep sea of the Japan Sea at a depth of about 500 to 2500 meters.

Fishing Area

While Zuwaigani is caught in the Sea of Japan, the Sea of Okhotsk, and around Canada, Beni Zuwaigani is in the Sea of Japan and areas around North Korea and Russia.

Fishing Season

Zuwaigani is available from autumn to spring, around September to June, while Beni Zuwaigani is in the winter season between November and March.


Zuwaigani is very meaty, which is the appeal of the crab. On the other hand, the main characteristic of Beni Zuwaigani is the sweetness of its meat.


Zuwaigani, also called Hon Zuwaigani (本ズワイガニ), is known as an expensive, luxurious crab. In Japan, the whole body of Hon Zuwaigani costs about 6,000 yen per kilogram on average.

In contrast, Beni Zuwaigani is inexpensive, and you can typically buy it at one-fifth to one-tenth the price of Zuwaigani.


Last, Echizen Gani (越前がに: Echizen crab) and Matsuba Gani (松葉ガニ: Matsuba crab) are well-known brands of Zuwaigani.

Meanwhile, Kasumi Gani (香住がに: Kasumi crab) is a representative name of Beni Zuwaigani.

(Reference Page: Wikipedia ズワイガニ )


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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