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Simple and Convenient! Ninben-ichi’s “Tatami Iwashi”, a light, healthy preserved food product.

Have you ever heard of Tatami Iwashi?


The Tatami Iwashi is a healthy preserved food product made up of whitebait, specifically baby sardines, that have been thinly laid out in the shape of a tatami (mat-like sheet), and dried without the use of preservatives, or food coloring.

Is it a very delicious and convenient ingredient that can of course be eaten as is, or in an arranged recipe.


Allow us to introduce the “Tatami Iwashi (4 frozen sheets)” from Ninben-ichi Inc., a company located in the ocean town of Oarai that produces, processes, and sells whitebait products.


Fresh baby sardines (whitebait) are caught in Oarai Town.

The coast of Ibaraki Prefecture (the Kashimanada Sea) is the perfect fishing ground as it is abundant in planktons and it is where the Oyashio Current and the Kuroshio Current meet. These circumstances make for delicious whitebaits that grow in a nutritiously rich environment and that are packed with umami!

At Ninben-ichi, 4 tons of these whitebaits are stewed in a pot while they are still very fresh, then foreign substances are removed from the product in a cleanroom, and finally, it is dried to make the Tatami Iwashi. 

Ninben-ichi’s Tatami Iwashi is about the size of the palm of your hand, making it an easy ingredient to use. You can either eat it as is after defrosting the product in the refrigerator, crush it up with dried seaweed to put on rice, or use it as a topping for pizza. While the uses of this product are endless, the most popular method of eating it is “aburi-yaki”.

Aburi-yaki” simply means taking two sheets of Tatami Iwashi and grilling both sides until they become light brown.

This method draws out the flavor and the texture of the Tatami Iwashi.

You can add mayonnaise or as much shichimi (Japanese seasoning containing 7 ingredients) as you want to make an excellent, fragrant meal!


The Tatami Iwashi also goes well with cheese so you can combine a grilled Tatami Iwashi with cheese for a snack to eat by itself or with an alcoholic beverage.


Try using the Tatami Iwashi in an arranged dish, or try accentuating your everyday meals with it!