Types of Onigiri and Onigiri Senbei Rice Crackers

“Onigiri (おにぎり)” is a quintessential Japanese comfort food made by forming a handful of steamed plain rice into a ball or triangle shape using both hands, and usually covered with a dried sheet of seaweed laver “Nori (海苔)”.

3 Common Types of Onigiri in Japan

Although Onigiri is known as Onigiri rice balls by many overseas people, the definition on its shapes doesn’t exist, so it is okay to make any shape of Onigiri. 

Onigiri rice ball

Despite that, the Onigiri rice formed by us Japanese can be roughly divided into 3 types. One is ball-shaped and entirely covered in Nori seaweed as shown above.

Another has a triangle shape and is partly covered with Nori seaweed like the photo above.

Yaki Onigiri (焼きおにぎり: Grilled Onigiri)

Yaki Onigiri grilled on gridiron

The last one is grilled Onigiri “Yaki Onigiri (焼きおにぎり)” in which a handful of plain white rice is shaped into a ball or triangle shape, brushed with soy sauce or Miso soybean paste, and grilled over a gridiron, without using Nori seaweed.

Masuya Onigiri Senbei

When it comes to Onigiri, there is a famous Japanese rice cracker associated with the shape of Onigiri, which I bought this time for the blog article.

Masuya Onigiri Senbei

The name of the Japanese snack food is “Onigiri Senbei (おにぎりせんべい)”, which is a kind of Senbei produced and sold by “Masuya (マスヤ)”, a Japanese confectionery company whose main office is located in Ise, Mie Prefecture.


Masuya Onigiri Senbei Rice Crackers

As you can see in the photo, the Onigiri Senbei rice cracker literally features its Onigiri-like triangle shape. Masuya Onigiri Senbei is a standard rice snack in western parts of Japan, but to those living in eastern Japan it isn’t well known.

Onigiri Senbei rice crackers

Made by baking rice dough without using oil, traditional Senbei have a somewhat hard, crunchy texture, while Masuya Onigiri Senbei contains some moisture and is not that crunchy.

Like traditional Senbei, the Onigiri Senbei rice cracker is flavored mainly with soy sauce, but has a subtle sweetness. The black things pasted on the surface are thin short strips of Nori seaweed.

Masuya Onigiri Senbei rice crackers

Unlike traditional Senbei rice crackers, Masuya Onigiri Senbei is neither hard nor tough. Besides, it has a mild soy sauce flavor compared to traditional Senbei, so I think this modern Senbei can be a nice treat for kids.

Ingredients and Nutrition Facts

Masuya Onigiri Senbei ingredients

Lastly, according to the description on the back of the bag, the main ingredients in Masuya Onigiri Senbei are non-glutinous rice called “Uruchi Mai (うるち米)”,  vegetable oil, soy sauce, sugar, dextrin, Nori seaweed, egg yolk powder, and pork extract.

Based on the nutrition facts, a bag of the Masuya Onigiri Senbei (14 g) has 67 kcal and contains 0.25 g salt equivalents.

(Reference Page : Wikipedia おにぎりせんべい )


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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