Other Seafood

Firefly Squid [Hotaru-Ika]


Japanese Name and Pronunciation:

hotaruika in Japanese


Hotaruika, also known as Firefly Squid, is a fascinating marine creature that holds a special place in Japanese cuisine and culture.

Hotaruika is a small species of squid, typically growing to about 3-6 centimeters in length. Despite its diminutive size, it plays a significant role in Japanese gastronomy. The squid’s body is transparent, and its photophores emit the bioluminescent glow, making it a mesmerizing sight when captured in large numbers.

Hotaruika is caught throughout the year, but its highest catch volume occurs during the spring. Therefore, the peak season for Hotaruika is considered to be from around March to May, spanning from spring to early summer. During this time, vast numbers of Firefly Squid migrate from deeper waters to the shallower coastal areas of the Sea of Japan. Some of the main production areas for Hotaruika in Japan include Toyama Bay, which is particularly famous for its abundance of these squid, as well as the coastal regions of Hyogo and Niigata.

Hotaruika is a prized ingredient in Japanese cuisine, and its delicate, briny flavor and unique texture are highly appreciated by food enthusiasts.

The most popular way to enjoy Hotaruika, is by making a dish called “Su-miso ae,” where boiled Hotaruika is served with a simple dressing of vinegar and miso. This minimalist preparation allows you to savor the unique deliciousness of Hotaruika. In addition to “Su-miso ae,” Hotaruika is commonly enjoyed in other dishes such as tempura, simmered dishes, and stir-fries. Moreover, when frozen for a certain period for raw consumption, it can be served as sushi or sashimi, and it remains delicious and flavorful.

Firefly Squid Sushi [Hotaru-Ika]
Firefly Squid Sushi [Hotaru-Ika]