Senbei vs Okaki vs Arare: Japanese Rice Crackers

Do you know traditional Japanese rice crackers are broadly classified into 3 types? and the 3 common varieties of Japanese rice crackers are called “Senbei (煎餅)”, “Okaki (おかき)”, and “Arare (あられ)” respectively.

The Difference: Senbei vs Okaki vs Arare

Senbei, Okaki, and Arare, all of these rice snacks have more than several hundred years of history, but among them, I think Senbei is the best-known outside of Japan.

At this point, you might wonder how Senbei, Okaki, and Arare are different from one another. So for those who have heard of these Japanese rice crackers for the first time here today, this time I will talk about the main features of each.

Senbei (煎餅)


Senbei is the rice cracker most commonly eaten in Japan. It is made of non-glutinous rice called “Uruchi-Mai (うるち米)” that has been pounded, then formed into a big, round shape, and baked.

Traditionally, Senbei is flavored mainly with soy sauce/salt, but in modern times, it comes in various flavors and many varieties like these.

Although some kinds of traditional Senbei use wheat flour/starch as their main ingredient, the majority of Senbei crackers available in Japan are made from the non-glutinous rice Uruchi-Mai, the staple food of the Japanese.

Okaki (おかき)


Unlike Senbei, Okaki is made of glutinous rice called “Mochi-Gome (餅米)”. Specifically, this Japanese rice cracker is traditionally made from relatively small pieces of “Mochi (餅)” or plain glutinous rice cake that have been dried and baked.

Arare (あられ)


Arare is also made of the glutinous rice Mochi-Gome and its producing method is basically the same as Okaki. Actually, there is no clear definition between Okaki and Arare, but in general, Arare is smaller in size than Okaki and shaped like small spheres or sticks.


In summary, the primary differences between Senbei, Okaki, and Arare come from the size and the main ingredient, and here is the comparison table.

Type Size Main Ingredient
Senbei Large Uruchi-Mai
Okaki Relatively Small Mochi-Gome
Arare Smaller than Okaki Mochi-Gome

(Reference Pages: Wikipedia 煎餅, おかき )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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