Tokyo East-West Life |日本⇆海外ライフ unCOOL JAPAN

Setsubun Ehomaki sushi rolls: the stylish and the strange.◎ 一風変わった恵方巻き、おしゃれな恵方巻きをランキング!

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February 3rd is a Japanese holiday called “Setsubun” which is a spiritual spring-cleaning of sorts. You clean up your house, then promptly make it dirty again by throwing beans around, chanting “good spirits in, bad spirits out!”. When that’s done, you sit down for a meal of the “ehomaki” sushi roll. The traditional ingredients call for egg, cucumber, mayonnaise and fish, but recently the Hallmark-ization of the holiday has brought us some actual yummy and interesting Ehomaki rolls. Foie gras? Cake? Doraemon? Read on…

日本の恵方巻き文化はここ数年でどんどん勢いを増していて、2月3日節分の日は “豆まきをして恵方巻きを食べる”っていう習慣がひとつのたのしいイベントとして広まって来ている。むしろ、”豆まきする人”を”恵方巻き食べる人”が上回っているかも!




 Ehomaki came from the Kansai region eons ago and were eaten only by the true traditionalists, but became an all-Japan thing when commercial places like conbini stores started selling them. There are a few rules for them: you eat in silence. You face the “lucky” direction that changes every year, hold the roll by two hands, and stuff it in your mouth without speaking. This has something to do with spirits. This year, the direction is “East-northeast” (huh?). 

The ingredients aren’t set in stone, but there are 7 gods of fortune so if you want the full benefit of the roll you gotta have 7 ingredients in there. So that’s where you see these ehomaki get really creative. The traditional style just seems so bland, and probably a bit gross compared to the awesome ones that are out now. I’ve picked up some of the most interesting ones, like European-inspired, bread ones and then some cool artistic ones. You can find these at conbini and departments stores as I’ve noted. Which one would YOU choose for your 2014 fortune?





Western/European inspired rolls. Think meat, condiments, and a je ne sais quoi sophistication. Call me old-fashioned American, but these all look the yummiest to me.


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Dean & Deluca。 画像は去年版。今年は「三崎産漬けマグロと蟹の七福巻」らしい
Dean and Deluca in Japan even sell their own Ehomaki Rolls. The photo shows roast beef and Yuzu pepper


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Fancy prosciutto, tuna and avocado rolls at Tobu Ikebukuro 

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Foie gras and two kinds of high-end Japanese beef. A roll of this will cost over $100!


②パン恵方巻き ライス嫌いな人(?)はこちら!

BREAD ehomaki. The weirdest idea for ehomaki to come out of the 21st century. But if you hate rice, this is for you


This is a sandwich Ehomaki Roll actually covered in Nori seaweed


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This roll contains ground beef and burdock root, with sweet egg thrown in for good measure. 



③おどろきのあるコンセプト的な恵方巻き  一風変わった恵方巻きもアリ!
Strange and surprising Ehomaki rolls


A macrobiotic roll on the bottom left…ehomaki have certainly hit the 21st century.



恵方サブはもはや原型をとどめてない。。笑 。おしゃれというより…笑
A 7-topping subway sub advertised as an Ehomaki. The general consensus is that it’s “huge”.



Doraemon ehomaki with a “Dora-yaki” pancake inside. Hi, your roll, the gods will be in your favor.



A really artistic art-deco shikai-ehomaki roll, making the usual ingredients look beautiful


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Desert ehomaki, with puree azuki, fruit and cream. I`M IN.



This ehomaki appeared in an ad for Kyoto Metro right around setsubun last year. Super cool.


④ボーナス ! BONUS

The ehomaki roll is only eaten around setsubun (sometimes summer nowadays for Obon), but the artistry of it (like the train above) has inspired a trend of “artistic sushi rolls”. The most known chef of these if Ken Kawasumi, who makes characters out of his. For some, depending on where you cut it, the character inside will change. Take a bet on what you’ll get….









unCOOL JAPAN is a space where I look at the most unique side of Japan beyond fashion, the things that are so uncool, we find it ironically rad (as we do). Beautiful, strange, yummy, new, and only available here. Welcome to Tokyo….

アンCOOL JAPANとは、日本の最もユニークで、超イケてない、皮肉さを感じるほど過激な一面を取り上げ、紹介するコーナーである。美しいもの、奇妙なもの、美味しいもの、新しいもの、ここでしか手に入らないもの。日本へようこそ!wって感じ★


-Misha Janette
-Asst editor: Natsumi Yasuoka

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