Food Product Review

Best Nori (Seaweed) Brands for Sushi Used by Japanese and Japanese Americans

These are the popular and best nori for sushi brands used by the Japanese community at home, restaurants, and by you (unless you click away to shop for a kitty mansion instead).

I started this blog because I got tired of reading such basic mistakes and dumb articles referencing Thailand or China when mentioning anything Japanese cuz “Asia.” Like, *waves hand over map,* it’s that region with all those orientals (and “it’s all the same to me”). Well, it may be for some, but if you are here reading this, I know you are interested in content that is all specifically about Japanese food and culture.

If you are shopping for a Japanese nori (seaweed) for sushi, this is your one-stop-shop for all the brands and places you can purchase online (I may be an Amazon Affiliate, and I may receive a commission, but I have listed every one of their competitors, 10+ of them in this post).

I do not stack the odds in my favor over a buck, and doing legit content comes first.
Photo Description: the seaweed farms seen by space courtesy of NASA. The shot is of South Korea's farms.
Not a shot of beaches and bikinis, but one by NASA of the seaweed farms in South Korea. Image courtesy of NASA Earth Observatory.

Types of Seaweed Used

What kind of seaweed is used in nori: it is made from a species of red algae, laver sheets (Porphyra).

50 to 80% of the world’s oxygen supply is from marine algae

– CNBC, Why Demand For Seaweed Is About To Boom

If you are interested in learning the other types of seaweed used from laver, kelp, to tengusa, I suggest you watch the YouTube video “Seaweed in Japan, Japanology” by NHK World which always does great content (I love every episode they put out).

If you are going to be doing sushi, I will not be like a Jaron type generically saying “seaweed,” and I will say nori (海苔) specifically because it is a Japanese word (and sushi is Japanese).

Some dudes can’t even get “wakame” right, yet the “self-proclaimed expert” cites wakami (incorrect spelling).

How is Japanese Nori Produced

Takaokaya: “Harvested in the ocean without any additives, Nori is produced in a rack drying process similar to paper making. It is most commonly used to wrap sushi and onigiri rice balls or cut in thin strips and used as garnish.”

– Takaokaya USA, Inc.

The Quality of Japanese Nori

Nagai Nori was established in 1947, and have been manufacturing and selling seaweeds since then. Our head office and two factories are in Toyohashi, Aichi.

We have acquired ISO9001 in 2003 for the higher quality and safety. We also acquired Halal certificate for roasted seaweed from Nippon Asia Halal Association last year and we are planning to spread Japanese seaweed to the world.”

– Nagai Nori Co. Ltd.

Types of Dried Japanese Nori (Seaweed)

  • Ajitsuke nori: seasoned dried seaweed (I used to eat this as a kid).
  • Kansou/yaki nori: dried/toasted seaweed sheets.
  • Kizami nori: shredded dried seaweed used as a topping.

Sushi Nori Uses (Sheets to Half Cut)

If you are specifically looking for the best nori for handrolls, product wise, you will want to purchase half cut to make the process a whole lot easier.

If you watch sushi chefs, the will fold a full sheet, then run their blade down the middle to cut it in half.

Sheets are used for all sorts of sushi and are cut up into sizes for rolls, gunkan, onigiri, to handrolls.

  • Sushi nori: full/half sheets are used for rolls, but can be cut down for gunkan (6 strips).
  • Temaki nori: sheets are half cut for temaki (handrolls) and hosomaki (single item).
  • Anything: you can use this product for anything and it does not have to be sushi, such as with shoyu ramen.

The Best Japanese Sushi Nori Brands

A “Product of Japan” will be focused on quality, and products of the USA will often use every possible marketing buzzword: “organic, raw, vegan, non-GMO, cruelty-free, paleo, kosher, all-natural, etc.” (they would add it to water). Yet the vast majority of the Japanese brands share the same qualities, but the Japanese consider it an inherent part of the product (the full article here).

Brands like Earth Circle Organics nori sheets are a product of China, yet they try to imply a connection with Japan by saying it’s from the “Sea of Japan” vs. saying the East Sea.
Photo Description: Japanese nori seaweed brands for sushi. The brands and the packaging start from left to right with Takaokaya Sushihane, Yamamotoyama, and Nagai sushi nori.
Between miso and nori, I have never been a brand ho although I plan on updating this post with more in-depth information beyond the post date.

Japanese Sushi Nori Grades

The larger brands have “nori grades,” but nowhere do they stipulate, differentiate, or define the grades. You will not find that information throughout their website or through retailers, so I plan on contacting them directly to see if I can get that cleared up (just do not bet on it).

Seaweed (Nori) Icon

One major factor determining the various grades of nori is where the product was sourced (from China, Korea, to Japan).

Also, the way the seaweed is processed to flavoring may differ (like Korean seaweed will be sometimes be seasoned with sesame/olive oil and salt).

UPDATE: what amazing customer service because Yamamotoyama responded quickly and with a very thorough response:

“Our Original Nori comes from the waters off of China, and is our most basic grade of nori. Our Silver and Gold Nori comes from the waters off of the coasts of Korea and is a slightly higher grade of nori than our Original; and our Special Reserve is sourced from the waters off of Japan and is also our highest grade of nori.”

– Yamamotoyama
Photo Description: Yamamotoyama Special Reserve Japanese nori (seaweed).  The 10 sheets of premium roasted nori is from the Japanese sea (Ariake region). It is gluten free, natural, vegan, contains no fat, and is non-GMO and verified.
Out of the 3 major nori companies, only 1 responds to any email correspondence. That company is Yamamotoyama.

Going direct through Yamamotoyama you will pay more although on Amazon, their Ariake (Japanese) nori is only $5.97 vs. the $11.00 price on their website.

Japanese Sushi Nori Products

Seaweed (Nori) Icon

The top sushi nori brands by popularity and availability are Nagai, Takaokaya, and Yamamotoyama (the latter has the BEST customer service). There are also various grades usually categorized by color (blue, red, silver, to gold).

Both Nagai and Takaokaya do not focus on the US market, only Yamamotoyama.

Oishii-Desu is supported by all of you, and I sometimes earn a commission when you click through the affiliate links on this site at not cost to you.

Hime BrandHime Seaweed
Sushi Nori
10 Sheets, 1.0 oz
10 Sheets, 1.0 oz
Kaneyama Nori Gold Plus
Half 100 (50 sheets)
Kaneyama Premium Gold (Black)
Full 50 sheets, 4.4 oz
Full 50 sheets, 4.4 oz
MiyakoTokusen Sushi

10 Sheets, .75 oz
10 Sheets, .75 oz
10 Sheets, .75 oz
10 Sheets, .75 oz
Nagai100% Product
of Japan

10 Sheets
100 sheet
NagaiSushi Nori (Red)
Roasted Seaweed

10 sheets, 1.0 oz
(Pack of 12)
10 sheets, 1.0 oz
Nori Seaweed

5 sheets, 0.52 oz
$9.20/Umami Insider
5 sheets, 0.5 oz
$4.95/Yummy Bazaar
Shirakiku Yaki Nori Gold
Full 50 Sheets, 4.05 oz
ShirakikuSushi Nori
Roasted Seaweed
50 Sheets, 3.75 oz
TakaokayaMiyabi High
Grade Roasted
Sushi Nori
10 Sheets
10 Sheets
50 count, 3.7 oz
(Pack of 2)
10 count, .75 oz
(Pack of 3)
TakaokayaSushihane Value
Pack (Purple)

30 sheets, 2.25 oz
30 sheets, 2.25 oz
30 sheets, 2.25 oz
(half cut)
20 sheet

10 sheets
toasted nori

10 Sheets

10 sheet
Tokyo NoriMedium Roasted
50 Sheets, 4.4 oz
Sushi Nori Seaweed
10 Sheets, 1.0 oz
UrashimaTemaki Tatsujin
Sushi Nori Seaweed
Half Cut 10 Sheets, .37 oz
Nori Seaweed
10 Sheets
Made in Japan
Special Reserve:
10 Sheets, .88 oz
10 Sheets, .88 oz
10 Sheets, .88 oz
10 Sheets, .88 oz
10 Sheets, .88 oz
100 Sheets, 4.4 oz
Prices are subject to change (you knew that tho).

Kathleen Mary Drew-Baker

Kathleen Baker is hailed as the “Mother of the Sea” in Japan, and a statue in her memory, along with the “Drew festival,” are all dedicated to celebrate her every April 14th.

“The celebration takes place in the city of Uto, Kumamoto, where revellers come together at a memorial erected in Drew-Baker’s honour in 1963. The monument is decked in flower garlands and overlooks the Ariake Sea.”

University of Manchester: Mother of the Sea’ – How Kathleen Drew-Baker saved sushi.

In between you buying nori, you can also read about Kathleen Mary Dew-Baker, the Brit who saved the Japanese seaweed industry after World War II even though she had never been to Japan.

Algae icons created by Nhor Phai – Flaticon

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