The appeal of Japanese Onigiri (Rice ball) nurtured through rice culture.

Japan is the country of rice as its staple diet. Onigiri are rice balls and are a typical Japanese soul food, as the Japanese have a great rice culture in their history. We will introduce you to the appeal of Onigiri which is one of the most popular foods in Japan.


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“Onigiri (literally means gripe)” is a typical Japanese cuisine and as known as a rice ball which is a circular or triangular shape made by hand and is wrapped in dried seaweed called Nori.


 “Onigiri” is often made for the Bento (lunch box). Onigiri has also been called “Nigiri-meshi” literally meaning griped rice in the past.

Nowadays, it is also made as a snack for children not only for the Bento as Onigiri is easily eaten.

In the past, plain Onigiri without any seasonings or ingredients was typical, but nowadays the Japanese enjoy different tastes and types of Onigiri.

They prefer putting some seasonings and ingredients inside plain rice or mixing them into the rice.

Furikake Onigiri (sprinkle dry seasoning), Kombu Onigiri (seasoned kelp), Ume Onigiri (pickled plum), Sake Onigiri (salmon) etc… There are lots of kinds of Onigiri.

Furikake Onigiri (Sprinkle dry seasoning rice ball)


Kombu Onigiri (Seasoned kelp rice ball)

Ume Onigiri (Pickled plum rice ball)

Sake Onigiri (Salmon rice ball)

You can also easily get plenty of kinds of Onigiri in convenience stores in Japan. Onigiri is the most popular food in the convenience stores. Especially the “Sea-chicken (means Tuna)” and mayonnaise Onigiri is the most popular for children and adults in convenience stores.

There is “Tenmusu (Ten - Tenpura or Tempura which is Japanese flitter, Musu - from Omusubi the same as Onigiri) is a Nagoya cuisine and developed from Onigiri. Onigiri and Tempura are combined, so you can enjoy both tastes together. There are also specialized Tenmusu shops in Japan which show Tenmusu's popularity.

Japanese Onigiri has been eaten since the ancient times and is a typical cuisine for Japanese as they have a unique rice culture. Definitely you must try Onigiri when you visit Japan.

You can easily find Onigiri, it is usually sold at convenience stores and supermarkets. However, please pay attention at lunch time. It might be sold out quickly.

We will introduce some specialized Onigiri shops below.

Omusubi “Yui”, Daikanyama

1-1-11 Nakameguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo


Closed:Sunday, Public holiday, First Monday in the month

Seat:7 seats

Onigiri cafe Risaku


2-31-6 Sendagi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo


Open:8:00 ~ 20:00

Seat:20 seats

Omusubi Gonbei

Hongosanchome building 1st floor, 2-39-5, Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo

Tel / Fax : 03-3814-2311
Open : Weekdays 7:00〜20:00 Sat: 7:00〜19:00
Sun: 10:00〜17:00

Closed: Non

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.

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