Photo/Illutration A nori sheet features information about ocean sunfish. (Provided by Kesennuma Business Support Center)

KESENNUMA, Miyagi Prefecture--A centuries-old shop here is imparting knowledge to customers in an attempt to turn around the decreasing production and demand for “nori” seaweed.

Using calcium, Yokotaya Honten has printed tidbits about fish and shellfish caught in this seaside city on nori sheets.

The product, called Osakana Zukan Nori (Fish picture book nori), has been a hit. Customers say it is a good gift choice for families with children.

Each sheet features an illustration and the ecology of fish and shellfish species, including blue shark, bonito, swordfish, ocean sunfish, oyster and sea squirt.

Although nori is an important ingredient in Japanese food culture, it has been served on fewer occasions at homes while its production has decreased because of global warming.

Yokotaya Honten, founded more than 300 years ago and now headed by Giichi Igari, started selling Osakana Zukan Nori in April to remedy the situation. It received help from the Kesennuma Business Support Center, which provides free consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

The first batch of 200 sets sold out just in three days.

After the company was flooded with orders, it increased production to supply 1,000 sets to roadside rest areas in Miyagi and Iwate prefectures, shops at Sendai Airport and elsewhere.

Each pack contains 14 sheets of seven varieties and is priced at 389 yen ($3), including tax.

For inquiries, visit the official website at (