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The Best Onigiri You Can Buy In Japanese Convenience Stores

Onigiri: A popular Japanese snack

Onigiri, or rice balls, are one of the most popular snacks or light meals enjoyed by Japanese people as well as foreign tourists who visit Japan. They are ubiquitous, sold anywhere from train stations kiosks and supermarkets to department stores and even boutique shops in upscale neighborhoods.

You can find onigiri in Japanese convenience stores

However, perhaps the easiest way to get your hands on these little pyramids of tasty goodness is to step into any one of the convenience stores you're likely to find in almost any populated area. Japanese convenience stores usually stock a large variety of onigiri with fillings such as tuna and mayonnaise, grilled salmon, mentaiko (spicy salted pollock roe), umeboshi (salted pickled plum) and shiso leaf, seasoned kombu seaweed, and many others.

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The most popular onigiri in Japanese convenience stores is tuna and mayonnaise

According to the Onigiri Society's most recent report on onigiri popularity based on research conducted at four major convenience store chains, tuna and mayonnaise earned the top rank in the first three stores, and a close second after salmon in the fourth one.

Which Japanese convenience store chain has the best tuna and mayonnaise onigiri?

Since tuna mayo is the most popular variety, in the interest of science and the satisfaction of our curious readers, we set out to conduct our own study of four leading Japanese convenience store chains.

Relying on the trained taste buds of our two resident food experts, Jess and Ben K., we conducted our own taste test with tuna mayo onigiri from Seven Eleven, Family Mart, Lawson and Daily Yamazaki.


These were our criteria for judging each one:

  • Quality of nori seaweed wrapper (Nori)
  • Quality of rice (Rice)
  • Filling to rice ratio (F/R Ratio)
  • Quality of filling (Filling)

Initial predictions: Seven Eleven (Ben K.), Lawson (Jess)


Family Mart

  • Name: Sea Chicken Mayonnaise
  • Price: 115 JPY (w/tax)

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Source: © grape Japan

Source: © grape Japan

Ben. K

  • Nori: 3
  • Rice: 2 (too moist)
  • F/R Ratio: 3
  • Filling: 4 (rich taste, moist, good tuna flavor)
  • TOTAL: 12

Jess

  • Nori: 3 (normal quality but the rice made it soggy)
  • Rice: 2 (too moist)
  • F/R Ratio: 4
  • Filling: 2 (too much mayonnaise)
  • TOTAL: 11

Daily Yamazaki

  • Name: Sea Chicken Mayonnaise
  • Price: 115 JPY (w/tax)

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Source: © grape Japan

Source: © grape Japan

Ben. K

  • Nori: 4 (flavorful, seaweed aroma)
  • Rice: 4
  • F/R Ratio: 4 (very generous)
  • Filling: 3 (a bit bland)
  • TOTAL: 15

Jess

  • Nori: 5 (nicely salted, crisp and fresh, good taste)
  • Rice: 4
  • F/R Ratio: 3 (not evenly spread out)
  • Filling: 4 (good ratio of mayo to tuna, distinctive tuna taste)
  • TOTAL: 16

Lawson

  • Name: Sea Chicken Mayonnaise
  • Price: 116 JPY (w/tax)

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Source: © grape Japan

Source: © grape Japan

Ben. K

  • Nori: 3
  • Rice: 4
  • F/R Ratio: 5 (very generous)
  • Filling: 4 (quite tasty)
  • TOTAL: 16

Jess

  • Nori: 2 (no saltiness, dried my mouth out)
  • Rice: 4
  • F/R Ratio: 5 (satisfying amount)
  • Filling: 4
  • TOTAL: 15

Seven Eleven

  • Name: Tuna Mayonnaise
  • Price: 115 JPY (w/tax)

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Source: © grape Japan

Source: © grape Japan

Ben. K

  • Nori: 3
  • Rice: 3 (a bit oily from filling)
  • F/R Ratio: 4
  • Filling: 4 (flavorful but a bit too oily)
  • TOTAL: 14

Jess

  • Nori: 3
  • Rice: 3 (a bit dry, average tasting)
  • F/R Ratio: 5 (perfect ratio)
  • Filling: 4
  • TOTAL: 15

Conclusion: Daily Yamazaki (Jess), Lawson (Ben K), tied at 16

However, compared to Lawson, Daily Yamazaki gives you Yamazaki points (the pink circle with 0.5 on it) you can collect with each onigiri you buy, so if you consider that a bonus, perhaps Daily Yamazaki is your go-to choice for your tuna mayo onigiri needs in Japan. (The point system at Daily Yamazaki is seasonal and may not always be offered.)


By - Ben K.

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