Can you Eat Giant Japanese Spider Crabs? (Q & A)

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Yes, the Japanese spider crab (Macrocheira Kaempferi) can be caught and eaten. These crabs found off the coast of the Japanese Island of Honshu are known to be a delicacy and have a delicate sweet flavour to their meat.

These crabs are some of the largest in the world and will take a while to cook, with the crabs weighing up to 20 kilograms.

This article will talk more about the Japanese Spider Crab, from what they are, to where to find them, and how to prepare them.

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What is a Giant Japanese Spider Crab?

The Japanese spider crab is a large crustacean that can have a leg span reaching over 3 meters (The largest of any arthropod) in length and can weigh up to 20 kilograms.

They have the ability to camouflage themselves against the seafloor and are reportedly the largest types of crabs in the world. Their diet consists of a range of things from small fish to even other crabs.

Giant spider crabs go through a process of moulting in which they leave their shell to grow a new one as their body grows in size. During this process, the crab will be vulnerable and without a hard shell for a period of 5 – 10 days.

From an environmental perspective, Japanese spider crabs prefer colder waters and will typically be found further offshore in deeper areas.

While they look grimacing, they are in fact edible and viewed as a delicacy in many areas of the world. 

The Japanese Spider Crab has been known to live for up to 100 years and can be identified by its orange and white spots along its legs, and its orange/red colour.

Where are Japanese Spider Crabs Caught?

The Giant Japanse Spider Crab is caught primarily in the waters off the coast of Japan near the island of Honshu.

The crabs will typically be found at depths greater than 50 meters.

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How to Prepare a Giant Japanese Spider Crab?

Japanese spider crabs can be prepared just like any other spider crab. First, you will need to kill the live crab, this can be done by placing the crab on its back and piercing its shell all the way through to the other side of the shell.

Once the giant spider crab has been killed you can begin to clean the crab, do this by removing all the guts and hepatopancreas, then rinse the crab with fresh water. While you are doing this you will want to begin getting a large pot of water boiling, this will be used to cook the crab.

With the crab prepared for cooking and the water boiling, you can place the crab in the pot and begin to cook the meat. This will likely take you at least an hour or longer as you should be cooking the crab for at least 30 minutes per 3lbs.

Once the crab has been cooked you can season it to your liking, typical preparation can simply include some butter and lemon juice, or you can find a recipe online and try something fancier. 


The Giant Japanese Spider Crab is an edible crustacean that can be found in deep waters off the coast of Japan. This species of spider crab is one of the largest in the world and can sport a leg span larger than that of a car, reaching lengths of 3 meters or 15 feet.

If you have the chance to eat one of these creatures it’s well worth the wait as they are quite the treat.


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Ryan W

Ryan is the owner of Fisherman First and manages the team of expert writers on the site. He's fished his entire life and has been to locations across North America to catch a range of fish and crustacean from crabs and prawns to minnow and trout.