Stay at our ryokan and learn how to cook onigiri with a Japanese mom!

Onigiri、often described in English as ‘rice balls’ are hard to miss if you come to Japan. You will find them in every convenience store, supermarket, and even in specialized shops. But what about learning how to make them with a Japanese mom?

What is onigiri?

Onigiri have their origins in the 17th century, as an easily transportable lunch food for travelers. To make sure the rice would not go bad, the rice balls were filled with ingredients that helped preserve them: salted salmon, umeboshi (pickled plums) or other pickles. Nowadays, these sorts of onigiri are still considered the main ones, but modernity and rivalry between the different convenience store chains have led to a great variety of fillings, for the pleasure of Japanese workers and foreign tourists alike. However, parents all over Japan still prefer to prepare them lovingly by hand.

Making and eating your own onigiri

It is now possible to learn how to make them at Tadaima Japan Shinjuku Ryokan! Shiho, a Japanese mom with a lot of cooking experience, will teach you how to make delicious onigiri filled with true love.

You will use quality rice cooked in a traditional clay pot

The rice you will use for the recipe will be very special. It is called Obasute Tanadamai, which comes from the Obasute (姨捨) terraced rice fields, in the mountainous area of Nagano. There, the rice crops are so small everything must be done by hand! The Obasute soil, climate and cultural practice give it a distinctive aroma.
For you to enjoy this aroma fully, the rice will be cooked in a Japanese traditional clay pot. The slow clay pot cooking helps the rice release its aromas. It also gives it a delicious texture that cannot be imitated by modern rice cookers.

Learn how to fill the onigiri and turn it into its distinctive shape

You will learn how to take the correct amount of rice, how to fill it and how to press it by hand into its classic triangular shape (other shapes can also be taught if you wish), and finally how to coat it with nori seaweed or sesame. You will choose two sorts of fillings among the following ones:

-Tuna mayonnaise
-Umeboshi (salted plum)
-Young sardines and leaf mustard

Once they are done, it will be time to enjoy them, accompanied with come traditional miso soup and tamagoyaki (Japanese rolled omelet).

Enjoying the food with Shiho

Onigiri cooking class
Conditions : Short cooking class for people staying at Tadaima Japan Shinjuku Ryokan only
Time: About one hour
Price: 1500 yen (price includes the teaching and the food)
Languages spoken: English, Japanese

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Writer / Translator

I’m French but I’ve been living in Tokyo for many years during which I had a lot of meaningful and thrilling experiences. I’m curious and I love learning new things. My hobbies are kick boxing, scuba diving, Japanese traditional painting, etc… As a writer, I’d like to share information about less touristic, more authentic places. I will also write about all the fun and cultural activities unique to Japan.


Address 12-4 Arakichō, Shinjuku-ku, Tōkyō-to 160-0007
Hours 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Price 1,500yen(price includes the teaching and the food)
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Access Four-minute walk from Yotsuya-sanchome Station (Exit 4) via the Tokyo Metro Marunouichi Line
Phone +81-(0)3-6709-9677
Language Japanese
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