National Rice Ball Day

National Rice Ball Day is a holiday observed annually on April 19th that encourages everyone to enjoy rice balls on this day. Also known as omusubi or onigiri, Japanese rice balls are typically found in bento boxes and are shaped into balls or sometimes triangles by hand.

They are readily available at convenience stores across Japan and are as common to the Japanese as sandwiches are to Americans. It should be no surprise that this is the case. After all, they’re portable, easy to eat, and taste very good as well. All these are good enough reasons for people to observe this holiday and enjoy some rice balls themselves.

The History of National Rice Ball Day

Rice balls have been made in Japan for hundreds of years and can be traced back to the 11th century. Back then, they were called tonjiki and quickly became a popular addition to travelers’ lunches.

In the United States, rice balls haven’t always been very common. In fact, up until the 1980s and 1990s, rice balls were made by hand, which means that they could only be found at upscale Japanese restaurants.

That changed when triangular onigiri began to be made by a special machine. Now, rice balls are quite common in the U.S. and can be found just about everywhere. If rice balls aren’t available in a person’s area, they can always make their own following one of the many recipes that can be found on the internet.

Some Interesting Facts About Rice Balls

We’re not going to let National Rice Ball Day pass without sharing some interesting facts about rice balls. You might think there’s nothing interesting to say about these circular or triangular-shaped balls, but they’re more fascinating than you might know. If you don’t believe us, then take a moment to check out the following facts. We think you’ll find them interesting.

  • Rice balls store very well. So well, in fact, that they can be used to preserve meats that are at their center.
  • Rice balls use vinegar-soaked rice that allows them to hold together.
  • If the balls are dipped in soy sauce, they will fall apart.

Observing National Rice Ball Day

We encourage everyone to take the time to either find rice balls at a local restaurant or to try their hand at making their own. With a little bit of patience and a decent recipe, just about anyone can make their own rice balls. We also encourage people to spread the word about this holiday online using the hashtag #NationalRiceBallDay.

When is it?
This year (2024)
April 19 Friday
Next year (2025)
April 19 Saturday
Last year (2023)
April 19 Wednesday
Food & Drinks