National Rice Ball Day

A person using a bamboo mat to make rice balls, wearing a chef's hat, preparing sushi. Japanese kitchen scene..
National rice ball day illustration

Clear your calendars, rice lovers! Get those bamboo mats at the ready and sharpen up your sushi skills, because National Rice Ball Day is the day you won’t want to miss. Sounds interesting? Sticke around to learn more!

When is Rice Ball Day?

It's national rice ball day on the 19th April.

A Brief History

The humble rice ball or 'onigiri' as it's known in Japan, is the unsung hero of the food world. Over 2,240 mentions were observed on the internet about National Rice Ball Day. At its height, it was the culinary equivalent of a trending hashtag on April 19, 2018. That's impressive!

Why Rice Balls?

Rice balls, with their infinite flavor combinations, are the perfect snack food. They've been filling hungry bellies and warming hearts in Asia for centuries. It's high time they took their rightful place in the panoply of national foods revered with their dedicated day.

The Origin of National Rice Ball Day

Now, who decided to turn this unsung hero into a celebrated superstar with its commemorative day, we’re not entirely sure. However, we firmly believe they deserve a massive thank you. So, whoever you are, wherever you are – THANK YOU! You've made the rice ball's year...

Celebration Ideas

Pulling out the Sushi-making kit on National Rice Ball Day is just one of the many great ways to celebrate this auspicious occasion. Others might include hosting a themed potluck party where all dishes contain rice. Not only a fantastic day to spend time with loved ones but also a crafty way to clear out the pantry.

A Global Phenomenon

Don't be fooled, dear reader. This day isn't one just for sushi lovers or Japanese cuisine connoisseurs. National Rice Ball Day has become a global phenomenon, a day to celebrate the excellence that is the rice ball in all its forms around the world.

History behind the term 'Rice Ball'

9th century

Birth of Onigiri

Onigiri, also known as a rice ball, originated in Japan during the 9th century. It is a popular handheld snack made of sushi rice, shaped into a small ball or triangle. Onigiri was initially conceived as a portable and convenient meal for travelers and warriors, as it provided sustenance during long journeys.

11th century

Rice Balls as a Staple Food

During the 11th century, rice balls began to gain significant popularity in Japan. They evolved from being a travel food to becoming a staple in Japanese cuisine. The versatility of rice balls allowed for various fillings and flavors to be incorporated, leading to an explosion of creative combinations.

17th century

Onigiri in Literature

Onigiri's popularity extended beyond daily meals and made its way into Japanese literature during the 17th century. It was mentioned in works such as 'Makura no Sōshi' (The Pillow Book), written by Sei Shōnagon. The literary mentions helped solidify rice balls' cultural significance and their place in Japanese society.

20th century

Onigiri Goes Global

In the 20th century, as Japan opened up to the world, so did its cuisine. Onigiri became widely known and appreciated outside of Japan. Japanese immigrants introduced rice balls to other countries, showcasing their delicious taste and convenient nature. With the popularity of sushi also rising, onigiri found its place in international culinary scenes.


Modern Varieties and Popularity

In the present day, onigiri has evolved into an art form with an array of fillings and wrapping techniques. Traditional options like salted plum (umeboshi) and grilled salmon (yaki onigiri) continue to be popular, while new varieties incorporating ingredients like pickled vegetables, tuna, and even fried chicken have emerged. Onigiri is now readily available in many parts of the world, loved for its convenience, simplicity, and deliciousness.

Did you know?

Did you know that rice balls, or onigiri, have been eaten in Japan for over 1000 years and are often shaped like triangles to represent the mountains that ancient Japanese farmers believed their gods lived in?


awareness food fun loved ones cooking skills

First identified

19th April 2015

Most mentioned on

19th April 2018

Total mentions


Other days

rice ball

Rice Ball Day

cheese lovers

Cheese Lovers Day


Foundation Day


Bacon Day


Agriculture Day


Pumpkin Day

cheese pizza

Cheese Pizza Day

medal of honor

Medal Of Honor Day


Guac Day


Biscuit Day