The Difference: Asari vs Shijimi clams

“Asari (アサリ)” and “Shijimi (シジミ)” are both clams that are very familiar to Japanese people. These clams are often used in miso soup and widely enjoyed in households.

That is why many of us can instantly tell them apart, but it may be a little difficult for the unfamiliar because they are similar in appearance. 

Asari vs Shijimi clams

Then, how do Asari and Shijimi differ? Today, for people who are curious, I did research about that, so here, let me share the information I got. 

Size and Color

Asari ClamsAsari Clams

First and foremost, Asari and Shijimi are obviously different in size and color, for which reason, we can easily distinguish them. 

Asari is larger than the Shijimi clam and generally has a 3 to 7 cm diameter. On the other hand, the Shijimi clam is usually 2 to 3 cm in diameter. 

In terms of the color of the shell, Asari is varied, whereas Shijimi is mostly black and has almost no pattern.

Habitat and Taste

Shijimi ClamsShijimi Clams

Asari inhabits the sea, while Shijimi lives in freshwater or brackish water such as rivers and lakes.

Asari has a plain taste compared to Shijimi and is quite easy to eat. Shijimi is packed with umami but has a somewhat unique taste.

Nutritional Value

Shijimi-Jiru (しじみ汁)Shijimi no Miso Soup or Shijimi-Jiru

Both Asari and Shijimi are healthy foods with high nutritional value. These clams are rich in amino acids, minerals, taurine, and iron, from which you can expect fatigue recovery and beauty benefits.

Unlike Asari, Shijimi contains plenty of ornithine and comes in health supplements.


Asari no Sakamushi (アサリの酒蒸し)Asari no Sakamushi

Asari can be used in a wide range of dishes and the representative includes “Asari Gohan (あさりご飯)”, “Asari no Sakamushi (アサリの酒蒸し)”, and “Asari no Clam Chowder (あさりのクラムチャウダー)”. 

Meanwhile, Shijimi is often used in soup dishes and “Tsukudani (佃煮)”. 

(Reference Pages: Wikipedia アサリ, シジミ, Misogen )


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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