Meanings of Hina Arare rice crackers for Hinamatsuri

Today is March 2nd and tomorrow March 3rd is a special day for young girls called “Hinamatsuri (雛祭り)” here in Japan when parents with daughters annually celebrate and pray for their sound growth.

When it comes to food for the traditional Japanese festival Hinamatsuri, especially, “Hina Arare (雛あられ)”, “Hishi Mochi (菱餅)”, “Chirashi Zushi (ちらし寿司)”, and “Shiro Zake (白酒)” are famous, but do you know each of these foods has meanings?

For example, what about Hina Arare?

Hina Arare (雛あられ)

Hina Arare and Hina Ningyo

Hina Arare is a type of “Arare (あられ)” prepared as an offering for the Japanese girls’ day Hinamatsuri.

Arare is a common type of traditional Japanese rice cracker made of glutinous rice called “Mochi Gome (餅米)” and generally smaller in size than “Okaki (おかき)“, which is also a common Japanese cracker made of Mochi Gome.

Hina Arare for Hinamatsuri

Ordinary Arare crackers as everyday treats are usually not colored intendedly but the majority of Hina Arare are made up of 3 different colors (pink, green, and white) or 4 (pink, green, white, and yellow) and each color has a meaning. 


Further, the Hina Arare made up of the 3 colors, pink, green, and white, has different meanings from the one with the 4 colors, pink, green, white, and yellow, and the specific meanings are as follows.

Hina Arare with Pink, Green, and White Colors 

Hina Arare with Pink, Green, White colors

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

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

Hina Arare with Pink, Green, White, and Yellow Colors

Hina Arare with Pink, Green, Yellow, White colors

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

With these colored Arare crackers that stand for the 4 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 is often made from puffed rice sweetened with (colored) sugar.

Meanwhile, in the Kansai region around Kyoto, which is said to be the birthplace of Hina Arare, the mainstream is lightly salted Arare. The pink Arare typically uses shrimps as a coloring agent, while the green one typically uses Ao-Nori green seaweed or the like.

Befco Choco Hina Arare

Kuriyama Beika Befco Choco Hina Arare

When the girls’ day Hinamatsuri is nearing, various related products begin to be sold at supermarkets and convenience stores around the country.

Befco Sanrio Choco Hina Arare Chocolate Rice Crackers

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

But I don’t know 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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