Japan is a meat&fish-intense country when it comes to food.
So if you are a vegetarian, you may have a lot of issues in finding vegetarian foods when traveling in Japan without any knowledge beforehand.
7-Eleven is a vegetarian saver!
7- Eleven is the largest convenience store in Japan, with over 200,00 stores all over Japan and they have several rice balls/ onigiri even vegetarians can eat.
Even if it’s difficult to find a restaurant or grocery stores selling vegetarian food, you can find 7- Eleven easy and pretty much everywhere, even in countryside.
So you can always find vegetarian food hassle-free whilst on your trip in Japan.
What is Onigiri ?
Rice ball or onigiri in Japanese, is one of most commonly eaten food in Japan.
It’s usually in a triangle shape or round shape wrapped in nori paper(dried seaweed).
It actually can be in any shape, and it doesn’t have to be wrapped in nori paper too.
Onigiri is an easy form of food to take out in a lunch box or for a picnic.
What Onigiri means for Japanese people is like a sandwich for westerners; it is easy to make and take anywhere.
You can fill any ingredients in the middle of the rice ball, so it can have an endless variety of flavors.
Let’s see what vegetarian rice balls Japanese 7 – Eleven offers in 2019.
1: Ohba-Miso Onigiri（大葉味噌）
This rice ball is filled with miso-paste and shiso leaves in the middle of the rice ball. The miso paste in this Onigiri is organically fermented for 2 years.
Price: 120 Yen
Ingredient: rice, miso paste and shiso leaves.
2: Seki-han Okowa（赤飯おこわ）
Seki-Han Okowa（赤飯おこわ）is steamed sticky rice with red beans. Seki-han is usually cooked for special events in Japanese homes.
This rice ball is chewy and it has a subtle flavor of sesame and salt.
Price: 130 yen
Ingredient: Sticky rice, red beans and sesame salt.
3: Hidaka-Konbu Onigiri
Hidaka is a city in Hokkaido, and is one of the most famous cities for producing Konbu kelp. You see Hidaka-Konbu(kelp) sold at pretty much every supermarket in Japan.
This rice ball comes with kelp tsukusdani – kelp boiled in soy sauce, and is wrapped in a nori paper(seaweed paper).
I’ve been eating this rice ball/ onigiri since my childhood. It’s one of my soul food.
Ingredient: Sticky rice, nori paper, kelp tsukudani(kelp boiled in soy sauce).
4: Pickled Plum（紀州南高梅）
Pickled plum（梅干し）is a very typical filling in Onigiri. If you ask Japanese people about a typical filling in Onigiri, lots of people would say pickled plum.
It’s so traditional and Japanese. There are always new varieties of fillings coming and going, but pickled plum has always been a classic filling for Onigiri.
What’s filled in this onirigi is minced pickled plum. It’s sour and slightly salty, that makes your mouth water and it so irresistible.
Ingredient: Sticky rice, nori paper, pickled plum.
New flavors are released every season
Onigiri is a staple product of convenience stores in Japan. So they release new versions/flavors of onigiri every season.
Most of new flavors won’t last that long. So one you have eaten before might not be available anymore when you want to try it again.
I will update vegetarian onigiri/rice balls when the new flavors come out!