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Ikura Don (いくら丼): Salmon Roe Rice Bowl

Ikura Don (いくら丼)
Ikura Don (いくら丼) is a popular type of donburi (i.e. rice bowl) eaten throughout Japan.

It is a simple dish consisting of salted salmon roe served on top of rice.

Ikura” means salted salmon roe in Japanese. “Don” is short for donburi (丼), which means rice bowl.

Read on for more interesting info about Ikura Don:


The main ingredients of Ikura Don are:

  • Rice
  • Salmon roe

Sometimes sushi rice (i.e. vinegared rice) is used instead of normal white rice.

Nori (dried seaweed) or shisho leaves are often used as garnish.  Wasabi is also frequently used as an additional condiment.


Ikura-don can be found in restaurants all across Japan.

It is particularly popular in regions known for salmon such as Hokkaido, Niigata, and Tohoku.

Hokkaido is perhaps the most famous area in all of Japan for ikura.   The salmon season there goes from around September until October.   During this time, it is easy to find fresh salmon roe in supermarkets.

History / Origin

The word “ikura” actually comes from the Russian word “ikra” (икра), which means caviar.  

One origin story states that the word was learned from a Russian prisoner during the Russo-Japanese War (1904-1905)

Another theory states that it was learned from Russian fisherman who were fishing in northern parts of Sea of Japan.

In any case, ikura started being widely eaten thoughout Japan during the Taisho era (1912 to 1926).

How to Make Ikura Don

ikura don

Ikura don is a very simple dish.  You just need two ingredients — ikura and cooked rice.   Just put the ikura on top of a bowl of rice, and you’re done!

Garnish with some some shredded nori, and a dab of wasabi for extra luxurious feeling.

One important tip is to make sure the rice is not too hot.  Let the rice cool down until it is just slightly warm (about skin temperature).

If you are outside of Japan, the hardest part would be finding ikura, or salmon roe that you can marinate to make your own ikura.


Have you ever tried ikura don before? What did you think of it? Did you like those little balls of flavor exploding in your mouth?  Or was it too weird? 😂

Leave your thoughts and comments below!

Chef Goku

Chef Goku

Chef Goku is the founder and sole operator of The Chef Dojo. He loves Japanese food, and has lived in and out of Japan for many years. He started this blog in 2018 to share everything he learns about Japanese food and cooking. He is also a self-certified Japanese knife nerd. Contact Chef Goku

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