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Uni don (うに丼): Sea Urchin Rice Bowl

Uni don (うに丼)
Uni don (うに丼) is a very popular type of donburi (i.e. rice bowl) originally from Hokkaido.

It is a simple dish consisting of uni (i.e. raw sea urchin) served over rice. Uni-don can be found all over Japan, though it is most famous in Hokkaido which produces about half of all “uni” in Japan

“Uni” means sea urchin in Japanese. “Don” is short for donburi (丼), which means rice bowl in Japanese.

Read on for more interesting info about Uni don:


uni sea urchin
Sea urchin…the star ingredient of uni-don

The main ingredients of Uni don are:

  • Rice
  • Sea urchin

Sometimes, sushi rice (i.e. vinegared seasoned rice) is used instead of plain white rice. Unidon is typically served with soy sauce and wasabi to be used as a condiment/seasoning. Shisho leaves and/or nori (i.e. dried seaweed) are often used as garnish.


Famous view in Shakotan, home of best uni in Japan

Uni-don is most famous in Hokkaido, which produces about half of all sea urchin sold in Japan. Hokkaido is surrounded by three different seas, so you can find fresh uni somewhere in Hokkaido nearly all year around.

Within Hokkaido, the most popular areas to eat sea urchin (and uni don) are in the coast towns.

One area is on Rebun Island, which is located at the very north of Hokkaido.

Another very famous place is Shakotan Town, located on the Western side of Hokkaido (i.e. Shakotan Peninsula).

History / Origin

Uni has been eaten since ancient times in Japan. The first official record of uni being used as food in Japan dates way back to 757!

Sea urchin is now popular to eat all across Japan and is actually considered as one of Japan’s three major delicacies.

The “birthplace” of uni-don is thought by some to on Rebun Island in Hokkaido.

How to make Uni-don

unidon sea urchin rice bowl

Making a basic uni don is straightforward. Simply cook some rice, and layer the raw uni on top. Garnish with some nori or shisho leaves and you’re done!

Some people like to pour over a soy sauce seasoning, but you can also just serve the soy sauce and wasabi on the side.

If you’re outside of Japan, the hardest part would simply be finding some fresh (or frozen) uni to use.

Below is an example recipe from kurashiru

Uni don (うに丼): Sea Urchin Rice Bowl

Course: main, donburiCuisine: JapaneseDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time


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Unidon recipe adapted/translated from kurashiru


  • Rice … 150g

  • Sea ​​urchin … 100g

  • Shisho leaves … 2 sheets

  • Nori (chopped) … for garnish

  • Wasabi … Appropriate amount

  • Sushi vinegar
  • Rice vinegar … 1 tablespoon

  • Sugar … 2 teaspoons

  • Salt … 1/4 teaspoon

  • Seasoning
  • Soy sauce … 2 teaspoons

  • Mirin … 1 teaspoon

  • Seaweed dashi powder … 1/4 teaspoon


  • Prep: Cut off the stems of the shiso leaves. Heat the mirin to evaporate the alcohol content.
  • Put the “seasoning” ingredients in a large heat-resistant bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and heat in a 600W microwave (high) for about 20 seconds.
  • Place the “sushi vinegar” ingredients in another large heat-resistant bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and heat in a 600W microwave for about 15 seconds.
  • Put the rice, heated sushi vinegar from previous step into a bowl and mix together with a rice scoop.
  • Scoop the rice into a bowl, spread shiso leaves on top, and then layer on the sea urchin and wasabi.
  • Sprinkle some shredded nori over everything and pour over seasoning sauce from step 2
  • Enjoy!

Recipe Video


Have you ever tried uni don before? What did you think of it?

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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