The Difference: Himomo vs Niboshi vs Yakiboshi Dried Fish

Surrounded by the sea on all sides, Japan has developed a variety of preservation methods applicable to seafood. Such Japanese marine products are mostly dried, and in fact there are a number of drying methods for fish preservation in Japan.

Those dried fish have different names, such as Niboshi or Yakiboshi, depending on the preservation method, and in many cases they are either used to make soup stock or eaten as they are or after grilled.

Japanese Dried Fish: Himono vs Niboshi vs Yakiboshi

Since actually Niboshi and Yakiboshi are especially popular types of dried fish in Japan, this time let me explain how they are different from each other. Further, I will also talk about the meaning of Himono.

Himono (干物)

Himono Dried Seafood

First off, as “Himono (干物)” literally means dried things in Japanese, it is the generic name for dried seafood, including dried fish. So Niboshi and Yakiboshi are categories in Himono.

Niboshi (煮干し)

Niboshi and Kombu

The word “Niboshi (煮干し)” may remind many people of dried small sardines for making Japanese Dashi soup stock, but besides them, Niboshi can also be made of other small fish, such as scads, mackerels or flying fish called “Ago (あご)”.

Niboshi refers to boiled-dried small fish as shown above, as “Ni (煮)” is the word for “boiled” and “Boshi (干し)” is the word for “dried”.

Niboshi are primarily used for making soup stock, but recently in Japan, in order for people to address the deficit of calcium intake, they have increasingly been eaten as they are.

Yakiboshi (焼き干し)

Yakiago Grilled Dried Flying Fish

On the other hand, “Yakiboshi (焼き干し)” are grilled-dried fish as “Yaki (焼き)” is the Japanese word for “grilled”. Traditionally, after the internal organs are removed, the fish is grilled over charcoal, and then dried under the sun or in the shade.

Typical fish prepared for Yakiboshi range from freshwater fish, such as sweetfish and Iwana mountain trout, to saltwater fish, such as sardine, flying fish, and goby. 

The Yakiboshi dried fish is typically grilled and served with alcoholic drinks, as well as being used for making Dashi soup stock. In recent years in Japan, they have become a popular ingredient for ramen broth, which includes “Yakiago (焼きあご : grilled-dried flying fish)“.

(Reference Pages: Wikipedia 干物, 煮干し, 焼き干し )


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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