The Legend Behind the Cucumber Roll

One of our most common vegetarian favorites at I Love Sushi’s Seattle restaurant is the cucumber roll, commonly known as the kappamaki in Japan. Consisting of a simple piece of cucumber rolled up in sushi rice, this is a mild and unobtrusive sushi roll that mixes well with many other Japanese dishes.

The kappamaki gets its name from a Japanese demon known as the kappa, which, according to legend, had a particular liking for cucumber. This creature is frequently depicted as either an ape or a turtle-like monster walking on its hind legs. It is often engaged in mischief, ranging from innocent pranks to horror-story-style acts of malice, like eating children. A kappa’s weakness is said to be a bowl-like depression in the top of its skull, which is filled with water. This water gives the creature strength, so you can protect yourself from a kappa by tricking it to bow and making it spill this water and lose its power.