Carefully hand-harvesting at water's edge, iwanori seaweed harvest starts in Shakotan

Harvesting iwanori “rock seaweed” along the Sea of Japan coast is a seasonal tradition in the coldest part of winter. This year’s harvest season recently started for the Shiribeshi region’s town of Shakotan, where harvesters carefully hand-pick the seaweed along the water’s edge.

The harvest season is mid-January to late March, when the seawater temperature drops and iwanori seaweed flavor increases. After the seaweed is harvested, it is repeatedly washed in water to remove salt and sand and then laid out on handmade bamboo mats where it dries in sunlight and flattens out into sheets. Harvester Sato Masaki comments, “The flavor achieved from using natural ingredients as-is is absolutely delicious. I recommend lightly warming over a flame and enjoying it with freshly cooked rice.”

Purchasing is available from mid-February at both the Higashi Shakotan Fishery Cooperative direct sales shop (Furubira Town, Shiribeshi Subprefecture) and their website ( The price is 2,430 yen for three A4 sized seaweed sheets.

Sato Masaki hand-harvests iwanori seaweed at the water's edge in Shakotan (8:20 a.m., January 26)


Higashi Shakotan Fishery Cooperative