Editorial

Gourmet Onigiri for All Tastes

Gourmet Onigiri for All Tastes

A shortlist of shops, for a Japanese speciality with selected ingredients.

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nigiris, which have been a staple of outdoor meals since time immemorial, may represent Japan’s very first fast food, with excellent preservability and portability. Italian, French, Chinese, Japanese: you name a cuisine, Tokyo has it. However, most restaurants become crowded at lunchtime. In those moments, it is much easier to buy a rice ball and savour it in the quiet contemplation of nature.

  Onigiri shops have been flourishing recently, with particular emphasis on the rice and the ingredients. Some of the shops have an ample eat-in space, where you can enjoy a rice ball and a bowl of miso soup.
Here is a shortlist.

Yoyogi: Ohitsuzen Tanbo


The shop aims to always serve the best quality in season, hence the origin of the rice used for Tanbo’s onigiris varies according to the period of the year, from Uonuma to Niigata. But Tanbo’s most remarkable feature is the use of home-polished rice. The shop serves numerous dishes, but it is perhaps renowned for its freshly-pressed onigiri, coming in ten flavours, such as bonito and salmon and nozawana, a Japanese vegetable, commonly served pickled. Tanpo is also present in Omotesandō.

Tsukiji Outer Market: Onigiri Marutoyo


It is an undisputed fact that the Tsukiji Outer Market is a fortunate location for a shop whose strong point is fresh seafood, especially salmon roe and conger eel, which are sourced directly from the famous adjacent fish market. Onigiris are nice and bulky - at Marutoyo they certainly do not skimp on the filling. And foodies know that.

Himonya: Iizuka Seimaiten


Located in a quiet residential area, Iizuka Seimaten utilises itsown special blend of rice and two types of pesticide-free riceKoshihikari from Niigata Prefecture. It is an extremely popular shop, opening at 7 in the morning and selling 400 pieces a day, with classic fillings like Japanese salted plum and salmon, as well as more daring ingredients such as Vienna sausage and tuna miso.

Marunouchi: Honnori-ya Tokyo Main Store


It is an extremely popular onigiri shop using home-polished Aizu Koshihikari rice from Fukushima, which is known for retaining its softness and sweetness even when it gets cold.In addition to the onigiris, which are stuffed with the season’s best ingredients, another jewel in the crown is Honnori-ya’s signature miso soup, made with red and white miso.

Akasaka: Omusubi Gonbei


It is an onigiri chain with shops at Tokyo’s major stations, known for its plump, hand-salted rice balls, which are 1.5 times bigger than the average rice ball. You can enjoy them in the restaurant, with a bowl of miso soup on the side. Select seasonal ingredients include Hachinohe maeoki mackerel, mackerel miso, wild vegetables and ginkgo nuts.
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