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Rectangular Sushi - Kakinoha Zushi

Kakinoha Zushi is a type of pressed sushi that is found throughout Japan, but more notably in the region of Nara. This region encompasses the Kansai, the Osaka and Kyoto territories. Like the other varieties of sushi, it has been dated way back to the 16th century during the Edo period.

Before getting to explaining this pressed sushi in this article, you are probably thinking that there’s a typo in the name because instead the letter S it starts with the letter Z for ‘Zushi’. But it is actually spelled that way.


The name itself means “leaf of the persimmon sushi” because it uses the persimmon leaf as the outer wrapping layer. The leaf is not edible as it is just use as the wrap.

Anago Hako Sushi - Tomoshibi AUD17 main by avlxyz, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License by avlxyz - A pressed Sushi - NOTE - this one is not of the Kakinoha style

Kakinoha sushi by _Yuki_K_, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License by _Yuki_K_ - A box of Kakinoha 

Brief History

What is interesting is in some parts of the Kansai region there is no direct accessibility to the ocean so back in the old days, salt and sometimes vinegar was used, thus making it last longer for transport on ocean, sea and land. Because of this process, it was very salty or too sweet for many. The solution was to cut the fishes into small sections and then placed onto sticky rice. Furthermore, they use the leaves of the Japanese persimmon as a wrapping because it was a common fruit in the region. The leaves served as a protection for the fish because of its antibacterial properties. It also provided a beautiful aroma to the sushi.


Types of fish used and Flavor

Salmon and mackerel are the most common fishes used in Kakinoha. Sometimes eel, shrimp or other types of fish species will be used but not as common as the former. Sometimes kelp(seaweed) is added as the wrapping instead of the persimmons leaves and giving it a slight different aroma and taste.

Many have said that the taste is no different than any other sushi but it is most comparable to that of nigiri sushi(learn more). They both have rice and fish as an ingredient but Kakinoha uses leaf wrapping and is more rectangular shaped.

The aroma from the persimmon leaves and the rice is prepared differently because of the preservatives used, so it can be a bit sweeter. For an avid sushi lover, he or she will be able to differentiate the different types of sushi and pick out the Zushi.

You can purchase a single piece for around ¥100-¥150 or you can buy a box which is beautiful decorated, for around ¥1000 and up. You will also find them in many restaurants and Metro stations across the Kansai region.

Learn more on the different types of sushi by visiting our Sushi page ->

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