Meanings of Hina Arare rice crackers for Hinamatsuri

Here in Japan, March 3rd is a special day for young girls called Hinamatsuri (雛祭り) when parents with daughters annually celebrate and pray for their sound growth.

As I wrote before, regarding food for the traditional Japanese festival, Hina Arare (雛あられ), Hishi Mochi (菱餅), Chirashi Zushi (ちらし寿司), and Shiro Zake (白酒) are especially famous.

But do you know each of these treats has meaning? For example, what about Hina Arare?

Hina Arare (雛あられ)

Hina Arare and Hina Ningyo

Prepared as an offering for the Japanese girls’ day Hinamatsuri, Hina Arare is a type of Arare (あられ) rice cracker.

Unlike Senbei (煎餅), Arare uses glutinous rice called Mochi Gome (餅米) as its main ingredient and is close to Kakimochi (かき餅) or Okaki (おかき).


Hina Arare Meaning

Ordinary Arare crackers as everyday snacks are usually not colored, but Hina Arare typically consists of 3 or 4 different colors, and each color has a meaning. 

Hina Arare with 3 Colors

Hina Arare, with three colors, usually comes with pink, green, and white, and each has the following meaning.

Hina Arare with Pink, Green, White colors

  • The pink-colored rice cracker represents the energy of life
  • The green represents the energy of trees/nature
  • The white represents the energy of the earth

With these colored crackers that bring energy, parents wish their daughters sound growth.

Hina Arare with 4 Colors

Hina Arare, with four colors, usually comes with pink, green, yellow, and white, and each has the following meaning.

Hina Arare with Pink, Green, Yellow, White colors

  • The pink-colored rice cracker represents the spring season
  • The green represents the summer season
  • The yellow represents the autumn season
  • The white represents the winter season

With these colored crackers that stand for the four seasons, parents wish their daughters a happy life throughout the year.

Kanto-Style vs. Kansai-Style

Kanto-style vs Kansai-style Hina Arare

In the Kanto region around Tokyo, Hina Arare typically consists of puffed rice crackers sweetened with (colored) sugar.

In the Kansai region around Kyoto, the mainstream is Arare flavored with soy sauce or salt. As a coloring agent, the pink Arare uses shrimps, while the green uses Aonori or the like.

Befco Choco Hina Arare

Kuriyama Beika Befco Choco Hina Arare

When the girls’ day Hinamatsuri is nearing, supermarkets and convenience stores in Japan begin to sell various related products.

What I picked up the other day, the Befco Choco Hina Arare is among them, whose dough is a mix of rice and chocolate.

Befco Sanrio Choco Hina Arare Chocolate Rice Crackers

But I have no idea what the dark brown Arare means 🙂

(Reference Pages: Wikipedia 雛あられ, Macaroni, Kanro )


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.

2 Responses

  1. March 4, 2022

    […] Hina Arare (雛あられ) – A pastel and often sweeter version of the small rice crackers popularly eaten as snacks. […]

  2. March 4, 2022

    […] Japanese people celebrate with some delicious savory dishes and scrumptious desserts such as hina arare, hishi mochi, chirashi-zushi, and hamaguri […]

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