How to Open Japanese Rice Balls

How to eat Japanese rice balls sold at Convenience Store

Rice balls (Onigiri) is one of the most familiar and regular food for Japanese. We can easily get the Japanese typical food at convenience stores for only 100 yen or cook it home. There are countless rice balls with various fillings such as salted salmon, pickled plum, tuna mayo, fried rice and so on. It is strongly recommended for foreigners to try some rice balls in Japan.

However, you may feel a little hard to open a package wrapping rice balls sold at convenience stores though it is a piece of cake for Japanese. Today, I’d like to introduce how to open Japanese rice balls for you to eat them like Japanese. Rice balls on the market are wrapped with various packaging styles, and here are the guides to major ones.

1. Classic style

A triangle-shaped rice balls like this is the classic one sold at convenience stores in Japan. It is one of the most popular type of Japanese rice balls since it offers crispy texture of the roasted laver. You may have a hard time opening this kind of rice balls packages at first. With this guide, you will come to be able to open this type of rice balls within 10 seconds.


▽1–1. Pull down a little slip with the number “1”


▽1–2. Peel the slip all the way around the rice ball


▽1–3. Pull out the part “2” to the side



▽1–4. Also pull out the part “3”in the same way as “2”




2. Round style

This round-shaped type of rice ball is easier than the triangle one above to open and eat. It is also popular for the line-up of various and unique flavors such as fried rice and smoked sausages.

▽2–1. Pull down a slip with the red sign


▽2–2. Peel the slip all the way around


▽2–3. Open the package on one side




3. Rolled style

A rolled style, which is also called Temakizushi (hand-rolled sushi), is one of regular rice ball line-ups at Japanese convenience stores. This kind of package is the most troubling one, personally. The flavors with seafood like sushi including minced raw tuna and shrimp, and how about taking the next occasion to try the Japanese favorite Natto.


▽3–1. Find a slip with the number “1”


▽3–2. Peel off the slip to the end



▽3–3. Open the package with the number “2” part


▽3–4. Take off the plastic covers on both sides of rice


▽3–5. Pull out the part “3” to the side


▽3–6. Roll the rice to the dried seaweed



▽3–7. Remove the rest of the package and wrap the rice with the dried seaweed




4. Easy style

This kind of rice ball package with a simple bag is the easiest type. All you need is just opening a bag of the rice ball.


Did this rice ball guide help for how to open? This Japanese food is really affordable and easy to get anywhere in Japan. Find your favorite flavors! For more info about Japanese food and culture, check these articles below.

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I'm writing by my motto: helping travelers spend their limited time experiencing something priceless in Japan. My articles won't let you down! Living in Tokyo and traveling many popular and hidden sites all over Japan, I deliver well-selected and latest tourist information to you from the perspective of “100% Japanese local”. My specific interests are island hopping, eating countless bowls of ramen, watching anime and reading manga. Enjoy Japan Web Magazine for recommended food spots, hidden gems Japanese Otaku (geek) culture, and everything about Japan :)