Aosan / Ushico | © PIXTA

Japan Invents Drinkable Onigiri Rice Balls To Go

The onigiri or rice ball is one of Japan's most popular traditional snacks. Although they once used to be sold in specialty shops, nowadays they're virtually ubiquitous, available in convenience stores and even gaining recognition in the famed Michelin guide.

You have to admire Japanese ingenuity when it comes to the onigiri. Whether they're triangular or round, they're designed to be easy to grasp, the nori seaweed wrapper holds all the ingredients in place and protects fingers from getting dirty, and there are unlimited possibilities when it comes to ingredients either filling the inside or mixed into the rice itself.

Just when you thought the onigiri couldn't get any more convenient, along comes Yokoo Daily Foods with a radical new idea.

Introducing the drinkable rice ball

Leveraging their experience making jellied konnyaku (konjac potato) foods and drinks, Yokoo Daily Foods put all the ingredients of an onigiri into an easy-to-use squeeze pouch and called it Nomu onigiri 飲むおにぎり ("drinkable onigiri"). So far, they have created two flavors:

Ume-Katsuo: Pickled plum and bonito flakes

Ume-Kombu: Pickled plum and seasoned kombu seaweed

Each 130g pouch costs 160 JPY (excl. tax).

Why Drinkable Onigiri?

According to their press release, Yokoo Daily Foods wanted to create an onigiri alternative that provided needed fiber and calories (200 in each pouch) and could be stored at room temperature for a whole year. Moreover, the current boom in pouch beverages inspired them to put their beverage into this convenient format which could be consumed with one hand. Finally, as the text on the package indicates, it doesn't require chewing, which presumably makes it a good option for the sick or the elderly.


"Nomu onigiri" will be on sale from March 1st at Konnyaku Park in Gunma Prefecture, the Konnyaku Park online shop and in supermarkets throughout Japan.

By - Ben K.