A flower shape bowl containing Japanese Cucumber Salad with Crab.

Japanese Cucumber Salad

Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Japanese
Keyword: cucumber salad
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 15 minutes
Servings: 4

Tossed with wakame seaweed and imitation crab meat, this sweet and tangy Japanese Cucumber Salad goes well with any Japanese-style meal. 




  • 3 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • ½ Tbsp soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp kosher/sea salt (I use Diamond Crystal; Use half for table salt)
  • 2 Tbsp dashi (use kombu dashi or water for vegetarian/vegan)


  1. If you are using Japanese cucumber, this step called “Itazuri” is necessary. Wash the cucumber and sprinkle it with salt. With both hands, rub the cucumber against the cutting board. It removes the pointy bumps on the cucumber and helps absorb the dressing.
    Japanese Cucumber Salad 1
  2. Alternately peel a ½-inch-side strip lengthwise, leaving a strip of the skin intact. With this method, the cucumber slices have some decorative dark green accents and a little bit of extra crunchiness. Cut the cucumbers into thin slices, about 1/8-inch thickness (or even thinner).
    Japanese Cucumber Salad 2
  3. Sprinkle salt and rub the cucumber slices gently with hands. After they are wilted (about 5 minutes), wash the cucumber slices under cold water. Squeeze the cucumber to get rid of the water.
    Japanese Cucumber Salad 3
  4. Put dried wakame in a small bowl and soak in water. After 10 minutes, squeeze dry to get rid of the water.
    Japanese Cucumber Salad 4
  5. Cut the crab sticks in half and separate (shred) with your hands. 
    Japanese Cucumber Salad 5
  6. In a small saucepan, combine dressing ingredients and mix well. Heat until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside.
    Japanese Cucumber Salad 6
  7. In a large bowl, combine cucumber, wakame, and crab sticks. Pour the dressing over and mix together. Sprinkle sesame seeds and enjoy at room temperature or chilled. You can keep for 12 hours in the refrigerator, but after that, the cucumbers lose crispness and seasoning may be diluted.
    Japanese Cucumber Salad 7

Recipe Notes

Recipe by Namiko Chen of Just One Cookbook. All images and content on this site are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without my permission. If you’d like to share this recipe on your site, please re-write the recipe in your own words and link to this post as the original source. Thank you.