Types of Nori: Nama vs. Kansou vs. Yaki vs. Ajitsuke

Nori (のり/海苔) is one of Japan’s favorite seafood, whose history can date back to ancient times. As you can see in sushi and onigiri, the seaweed often comes in dry sheets.

Unlike flakes or powder types of nori such as Aonori and Aosa (processed from green algae), those sheets of nori usually consist of red algae like Susabi Nori (スサビノリ).

Types of Nori 

As you can guess from the above, in Japan, nori is available in various forms. But among others, Nama Nori, Kansou Nori, Yaki Nori, and Ajitsuke Nori are basics.

So today, let’s find out what kinds of nori they are.

Nama Nori (生海苔)

Nama Nori (Nori no Tsukudani)

First, Nama Nori is wet unprocessed nori, as Nama (生) in its name means raw in Japanese. Nama Nori is the ingredient of Kansou Nori or Ita Nori, so the material is red algae such as Susabi Nori.

Nama Nori is edible as it is. The food has a slightly salty taste, accompanied by a pleasant aroma of the sea. Like Sashimi, we typically consume Nama Nori with soy sauce or Sanbaizu

Kansou Nori (乾燥海苔)

Ita Nori

Kansou Nori, literally dried nori, is a thin rectangle sheet of nori made by drying Nama Nori. Kansou Nori has another name, Ita Nori (板海苔), as it has a shape like a board or Ita (板).

Kansou Nori can be eaten as it is but has some moisture and is pliable compared to Yaki Nori. So before use, we often roast this type over the fire to give it a crisp texture and fresh flavor. 

Yaki Nori (焼き海苔)

Ramen with Yaki Nori

Yaki Nori, literally roasted nori, is a ready-to-use pre-roasted Ita Nori. Because of the convenience, this type is the mainstream nori carried by supermarkets in Japan.

Yaki Nori is convenient and used in various dishes, including ramen, tempura, salad, and mochi. But the nori is generally inferior in flavor to freshly roasted Kansou Nori.

Ajitsuke Nori (味付け海苔)

Ajitsuke Nori

Ajitsuke Nori, literally seasoned nori, is a pre-seasoned Yaki Nori (first brushed with a Tare sauce made with soy sauce and sugar, then dried and cut into small sheets).

Ajitsuke Nori is easy to eat and favored even by children who don’t like nori very much.

Ajitsuke Nori and Yaki Nori are products first invented by Yamamoto Noriten (山本海苔店), a long-established food company based in Nihonbashi, Tokyo.

(Reference Page: Wikipedia 海苔 )


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.

2 Responses

  1. Larry Rhoe says:

    Hi as a westerner in China over 70 I was researching seaweed nori for it benefit in treating prostate problems. It seems to be an ingredient for treatment as the iodine level is good. I have had the dried type here in China which is very tasty. Thanks for the info.

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