For many Japanese people, whether it's on a field trip or Sports Day for kids, or enjoying a picnic under beautiful red and yellow foliage for adults, bento lunches are an essential part of autumn events.

There's nothing like the taste of a delicious bento lunch under a blue sky with friends and family.

Onigiri (rice balls) are a popular bento item since they're quick to make and easy to eat outside.

But the onigiri we'd like to introduce to you here are probably nothing like the ones you've had before.

The Instagram account おにぎり劇場 onigiri gekijō (@onigirigekijo), which means "rice ball theater," specializes in fashioning rice balls into very realistic animals and more.

Among the many remarkable onigiri posted on the account, here are the most popular ones as determined in a vote by the account's followers:

All of them look like works of art, and it's hard to believe that they are onigiri, but the one that won first place was the barn owl, beating out the koala by a narrow margin.

Unlike so-called "character bentos," which are usually two-dimensional designs created within a lunch box, the three-dimensional nature of these rice ball creations makes them even closer to the real thing.

There are also famous people and anime characters carefully recreated in rice but among them, there's one that particularly impressed the creator's son:

There are multiple images. Click on the right arrow to see them.

If you're an anime fan, you'll instantly recognize this as Inosuke Hashibira from Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba.

The ears, muscles, and hair are very realistically recreated, right down to the Nichirin sword made of kamaboko fish paste.

The quality of these onigiri is so high that you'd think it would be a shame to eat them, but don't worry: they never go to waste. The creator says that after pictures are taken, there are hungry staff and family members happy to make them disappear!

On November 22nd, 2021, Shogakukan will publish a photobook containing about 150 of Onigiri Gekijō's works, so if you are interested, you can place your reservation here.

If you'd like to admire more onigiri creations, you can follow them on Instagram and subscribe to their YouTube Channel.

By - grape Japan editorial staff.