Kankoku Nori vs. Nihon Nori: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to Nori (海苔), the first thing that comes to many people’s minds will probably be a blackish dry sheet of seaweed used in sushi rolls.

Including the one for sushi, the Nori seaweed produced in Japan is generally called Nihon Nori (日本海苔: meaning Japan Nori).

In addition to the Japanese one that we commonly consume in daily life, Kankoku Nori (韓国海苔: Korea Nori) or Korean Nori is also popular in Japan and widely enjoyed.

Although it seems that, in Korea too, there is a variety of Nori seaweed, the Kankoku Nori widely available in Japan is different from Nihon Nori in various respects (Ex. ingredients, taste). 

Nihon Nori (日本海苔: Japan Nori)

Nihon Nori comes in two major types. One is Ita Nori (板海苔: meaning Board Nori), and the other is Nama Nori (生海苔: Raw Nori).

Ita Nori (板海苔)

Ita Nori

Ita Nori is an unseasoned dried seaweed sheet most commonly eaten in Japan. Its main ingredient is the red algae species Asakusa Nori (P. tenera) or Susabi Nori (P. yezoensis).

In general, Ita Nori comes in a size of 21 cm x 19 cm. It is usually cut into easy-to-use pieces and is often used in sushi, onigiri (rice balls), furikake, and ramen.

Incidentally, the one seasoned with soy sauce and sugar is generally called Ajitsuke Nori (味付け海苔: Seasoned Nori), which typically has a size of 5 cm x 10 cm or 3.5 cm x 10 cm.

Nama Nori (生海苔)

Nori no Tsukudani

On the other hand, Nama Nori is undried Nori seaweed that is raw. One of the representative Japanese foods made from this variety is Nori no Tsukudani (海苔の佃煮).

Kankoku Nori (韓国海苔: Korea Nori)

Kankoku Nori

The Kankoku Nori, widely consumed in Japan as a snack or a topping, consists of dry sheets of seaweed typically seasoned with sesame oil and salt, and they are classified as Ajitsuke Nori. 

Unlike Nihon Nori, Kankoku Nori often uses the red algal species Oniama Nori (Porphyra dentata) or Ichimatsu Nori (Pyropia seriata).

(Reference Pages: Wikipedia 海苔, 味付け海苔, 韓国海苔, Olive Hitomawashi)


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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