Gohan no Tomo : I tried the first modern Furikake rice seasoning

Steamed white rice and Miso soup are the staple food of the Japanese. As the rice is plain, we Japanese like to eat it putting (sprinkling) something salty or tasty. When it comes to salty foods for steamed plain rice, Umeboshi plums are most common in Japan. The Japanese pickled Ume plums are extremely sour and salty, and they go perfectly with plain white rice.

“Furikake (ふりかけ)” Rice Seasoning

On the other hand, as for the tasty food for steamed plain rice, “Furikake (ふりかけ)” is the quintessential Japanese food for the rice. It consists of various kinds of flakes made mainly from meat, fish, eggs and seaweed, and is usually used for seasoning steamed plain rice. How to use it? It is really simple: put hot plain white rice into a rice bowl, then sprinkle Furikake rice seasoning over it.

The Origin

It is said that the origin of Furikake dates back to the Japan’s Kamakura Period (Kamakura : 1185 to 1333). The Japanese people at that time ate plain rice along with dried bonito shavings or dried salted bits of fish meat like sea bream, salmon and shark.

Gohan no Tomo (御飯の友) : The First Modern Furikake

During modern times, Furikake products were designed by several Japanese companies and “Gohan no Tomo (御飯の友)” is considered as the first modern Furikake. In the early Taisho period (Taisho : 1912 to 1926), the first Furikake product was created and sold in Kumamoto Prefecture.

I tried Gohan no Tomo rice seasoning for the first time

Actually, the first modern Furikake, Gohan no Tomo still exists and is available at some Japanese supermarkets and online shopping sites, so the other day, I purchased it from Amazon Japan and tried the Furikake rice seasoning with steamed plain rice for the first time.

In the Taisho period when Gohan no Tomo was released, many Japanese people were insufficient in the intake of calcium, so in order to replenish it, fish bone powder was adopted as a main ingredient for Gohan no Tomo.

The ingredients 

Hence, the main ingredient for this Furikake rice seasoning is dried parched small sardine called “Iriko (いりこ)”. According to the description on the back of the bag, the other ingredients include white sesame seeds, soy sauce, sugar, salt, Nori seaweed, fermented seasoning, green laver, milk sugar, starch, powdered egg yolk, shredded Kombu seaweed and so on.

The taste

Furikake rice seasonings released in recent years don’t usually contain Iriko, or dried parched small sardine. Hence, the Furikake whose main ingredient is Iriko is rare nowadays. Despite that, this fish Furikake is really delicious and savory. It isn’t sweet, but has a right amount of salt as well as an appetizing fragrant aroma of parched sardine.

Where to buy Futaba Gohan no Tomo

As I wrote above, this Futaba’s Gohan no Tomo is not only available at some supermarkets in Japan, but the classic Furikake rice seasoning can also be bought on some online shopping sites inside and outside of Japan.

Related Product

The Best-selling Furikake in the Postwar Period
Marumiya (丸美屋) : “Noritama (のりたま)” Furikake rice seasoning
Marumiya Noritama mainly consists of sweet egg flakes and shredded Nori seaweed. It is a long-seller with the top share in the Japan’s Furikake market.

(Reference pages of this article : Wikipedia 御飯の友, ふりかけ )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. I want to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures and trivia.

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