Ward Off Evil This 2017 With These 7 Unique Sushi Rolls From Japan!

  • NATIONWIDE
  • EVENT
  • FOOD
  • In Japan, it is believed that when seasons change, people are more prone to be affected by the evil forces i.e. devils, so there is a need to ward off evil on the day before the beginning of the new season. As such, Setsubun (節分), which means the last day before spring, is an occasion where people conduct the mamemaki (豆まき) ritual of throwing beans and eating a certain number of beans (deduct 1 from your current age) to chase out the evil spirits and bring in good luck. In the colder and snowy regions like Tohoku (東北) and Hokkaido (北海道), peanuts are sometimes used in place of beans as they are easier to pick up and there are fewer hygiene concerns since dirt will be kept away from the peanuts by the shells that will be removed.

    Another well-known practice on this day is to eat Ehomaki (恵方巻), i.e. a thick sushi roll, at one go in silence on the night of Setsubun while facing the Eho (恵方) i.e. the lucky direction of the year. However, Ehomaki was not known as such when it originated from Osaka (大阪) in the early days of the Showa era. It was only in 1998 when convenience store chain, 7-Eleven (セブンイレブン), first launched such thick sushi rolls on Setsubun under the name of “marukaburizushi Ehomaki (丸かぶり寿司 恵方巻)” that the term became well known and used nationwide since 2000. There are also similar versions eaten during the Setsubun of the other seasons called Haru no Ehomaki (春の恵方巻) in May, Natsu no Ehomaki (夏の恵方巻) in August, and Aki no Ehomaki (秋の恵方巻) in November.

    What’s in the Ehomaki?
    Typical ingredients in the Ehomaki to represent various auspicious colors

    View this post on Instagram

    節分ごはん ・ ・ こんばんは😊 ・ ・ 投稿しそびれていた節分の日の晩御飯😂 #振り返りの木曜日 ・ ・ 記録のためにも投稿させてください🙏 ・ ・ 初めて作ったキンパ風の恵方巻き、今までの恵方巻きとは違って新鮮でした!! ・ ・ 節分が終わったので、次はひなまつり🌸 ・ ・ 今日はお天気が悪く、雛人形を出せず💦 ・ ・ 連休中にだせるかなぁ〜? ・ ・ でも、その前にバレンタインだ😂🍫 ・ ・ コメント欄、閉めます! いつもありがとうございます😊 ・ ・ #手作り#節分#節分ごはん#手巻き#恵方巻き#おうちごはんlover#クッキングラム#ロカリ#マカロニメイト#エルグルメ #homemade#dinner#temaki#temakiparty#wraptheworld#washoku#foodstagram#foodporn#foodie#foodpics#wp_deli_japan#igersjp#tv_stilllife

    あやさん(@aya_m08)がシェアした投稿 –

    Typically, the Ehomaki roll consists of 7 ingredients to represent the Shichifukujin (七福神), i.e. Seven Gods of Good Fortune, who bring prosperity in business, health, and fortune. Another theory as to why the thick sushi roll is eaten on this occasion is because the roll resembles the golden rod left behind by the devil so it was used to chase the devil again.

    There are no fixed ingredients in the Ehomaki but some common choices include cucumber, dried gourd shavings (かんぴょう), shiitake mushrooms (椎茸), unagi (鰻), sakura denbu (桜でんぶ), and egg. As time went by, the variations of Ehomaki have increased and the number of ingredients is no longer restricted to 7 as there are versions with 2, 5, 11, 12, and 15 ingredients.

    This 2017, Setsubun falls on 3 February and the Eho is said to be north-north-west. If you happen to be in Japan right now, how about trying the following 7 types of Ehomaki on the night of Setsubun to ward off evil and usher in good luck for the new season ahead?

    1. Rilakkuma (リラックマ) Ehomaki

    View this post on Instagram

    沖縄旅行の続きを書かないとと思いつつ放置してしまっております(笑) . とりあえず今日の節分ごはんの記録を先に✨ . 今年は、娘がローソンで予約販売していたリラックマ 恵方巻きがいいというので子供たちはリラックマ 恵方🍣私とパパは、スーパーで適当に買った恵方巻きにしちゃいました😂 . これ980円ぐらいするんだけど小さいのが一本…そして中に入ってるのテリヤキチキンとツナマヨとかそんなん… . いつも自分で巻いてるから好きな具入れて一本でお腹いっぱいになるんだけど💦コレだけではちょっとね… . 後は、鰯のつみれ汁と酢の物だけだから仕方なく私の恵方巻きも少しづつ子供たちに進呈😢 . やっぱり恵方巻きは、家で巻こうと思った日でした。 . 2枚目、3枚目は、恵方巻き巻かないんなら恵方ロール巻いちゃう?って事で久々、恵方ロール作りました✨ . けど、なんか模様がキレイにくっつかなくて失敗💦一応これトラ柄のつもり🐅 . 中はカボチャクリームです🎃 沖縄の古宇利オーシャンタワーで売ってたカボチャのロールケーキが食べたいというので✨ カボチャクリームは、巻きやすくてキレイなのの字に巻けました💗 . . #節分ごはん #リラックマ #リラックマ恵方巻き #恵方巻き #酢の物 #鰯のつみれ汁 #恵方ロール #手作りケーキ #手作りロールケーキ #おうちごはん #大阪 #転勤族 #転勤族の妻

    しずかさん(@sizsiz321)がシェアした投稿 –

    For those who are fans of Rilakkuma, you should be thrilled at seeing this Ehomaki set from Lawson which comes in a specially-designed wrapper and offers a free luncheon mat in the package for a price of 800 yen (inclusive of tax). Ingredients include chicken breast, onions, egg salad, corn, egg, and vinegared rice with tomato sauce.

    Note that the seaweed sheets used in all of Lawson’s Ehomaki products have been “blessed” through prayer rituals at Kiyomizudera (清水寺) in Kyoto (京都) so that they bring good luck to whoever consumes them.

    Unfortunately, as this is a limited-edition product which can only be bought through prior reservations, you may not be able to lay your hands on this anymore. But there is no harm in swinging by a Lawson store to try your luck, right?

    Lawson Website
    Access (There are many branches, but we will introduce one of them here.)

    2. Kumamon Nagai Setsubun Roll (くまモン なが〜い節分ロール)
    Kumamon Nagai Setsubun Roll

    If you are a Kumamon lover and would like to eat a sweet version of the Ehomaki, you can get the Kumamon Nagai Setsubun Roll which contains whipped cream made from milk sourced from Oguni-machi in Aso (阿蘇小国町), Kumamoto (熊本), with chocolate ganache and pineapples. At the price of 420 yen, this should be easier to obtain since it is not a limited-edition item. Note though that this is not available at Natural Lawson stores and in Okinawa (沖縄).

    Lawson Website
    Access (There are many branches, but we will introduce one of them here.)

    3. Gokubuto Gokujo Ehomaki (極太極上恵方巻き)
    The Gokubuto Gokujo Ehomaki from Shabu Shabu Onyasai

    If you are visiting the hot pot restaurant chain Shabu Shabu Onyasai’s Ginza 5-chome (しゃぶしゃぶ温野菜 銀座5丁目店), Akasaka (赤坂店), and Umeda Kita (梅田北店) branches, do remember to download the restaurant’s mobile app before your visit. On Setsubun, if you present the coupon in the app when ordering their hot pot buffet, the first 23 groups of customers will be given the Gokubuto Gokujo Ehomaki, i.e. the very thick and premium Ehomaki which contains crab meat from one whole zuwaigani (ズワイ蟹) or snow crab, for free! This special Ehomaki, which measures 18 cm long and weighs 555 grams, also contains six other ingredients including cucumber and plum.

    As for those visiting the other branches, you can still download the app to get the coupon for a free Yuba Ehomaki (湯葉恵方巻き), which is wrapped in tofu skin and also contains crab meat from an entire snow crab.

    Shabu Shabu Onyasai Website *Japanese only
    Access (There are many branches, but we will introduce one of them here.)

    4. Western-style Spiny Lobster and Chutoro (中トロ) Ehomaki
    The Western-style spiny lobster Ehomaki with golden foil and caviar from Nakajima Suisan

    For a dash of luxury in your Ehomaki, you can consider the Western-style spiny lobster and chutoro Ehomaki wrapped in golden foil with caviar toppings from Nakajima Suisan (中島水産). You can get this at Daimaru Tokyo Station (大丸東京駅) for a price of 9,720 yen, only on the day of Setsubun. Moreover, this is a limited-edition item so you will have to act fast to avoid disappointment.

    Nakajima Suisan Website *Japanese only
    Access

    5. Chuka Sandai Bimi Ehomaki (中華三大美味恵方巻)
    The Chinese-style 3 Delicacies Ehomaki from Ginza Aster

    If you would like to try a Chinese-style Ehomaki and happen to like abalone, shark’s fin, and crab meat, this is probably your best choice. Ginza Aster (銀座アスター) is selling their Chuka Sandai Bimi Ehomaki, which contains the above-mentioned ingredients regarded as delicacies in Chinese cooking, for a price of 2,700 yen (inclusive of tax). It is exclusively sold on Setsubun at Daimaru Tokyo Station where you can find as many as 140 types of Ehomaki to suit a variety of tastes.

    Ginza Aster Website *Japanese only
    Access

    6. Marugoto Iwashi Maki (まるごといわし巻)
    Marugoto Iwashi Maki from Muten Kura Zushi

    In parts of Western Japan, the hiragi iwashi (柊鰯), i.e. sardines, are used as lucky charms to ward off evil where sardine heads are grilled before holly branches are pierced into them and hung at the doors of houses. The sardine meat is then added to the Ehomaki with perilla leaves to represent the holly.

    At sushi restaurant chain Muten Kurazushi (無添くら寿司), they will be selling the Marugoto Iwashi Maki, i.e. entire sardine roll which uses one whole deboned sardine in the Ehomaki, for a price of 350 yen (exclusive of tax). The sardines used in this roll come from Kushiro (釧路) in Hokkaido and are grilled with salt. Only 13,000 rolls will be available at the restaurants on Setsubun. You’ll probably need to muster enough courage to eat this Ehomaki which does look rather intimidating visually with the sardine’s head and tail sticking out of the roll.

    Muten Kurazushi Website
    Access (There are many branches, but we will introduce one of them here.)

    7. 55 Hinmoku 55-cm Ehomaki
    The 55-cm Ehomaki from Tobu Department Store’s Ikebukuro Main Store

    To celebrate its 55th anniversary at its Ikebukuro Main Store, Tobu Department Store (東武百貨店池袋本店) is launching its longest Ehomaki to date, which measures 55 cm and contains 55 items! This very long Ehomaki titled “55 Hinmoku 55-cm Ehomaki (55品目55cm恵方巻き)” has a diameter of 6 cm and costs 5,500 yen. It offers 7 combinations of the 55 ingredients that are mostly seafood, including grilled anago (焼穴子), grilled saba (焼サバ), eggs, cucumber, shiitake mushrooms, sakura denbu, ootoro (大トロ), toro, akami (本マグロ赤身), salmon, sea urchin (雲丹), salmon roe (イクラ), grilled octopus, sweet shrimp, hirame, and whiteleg shrimp. Unfortunately, reservations for this special Ehomaki are no longer accepted (the last date of ordering was 31 January 2017), but you can still swing by the store for a look at this lengthy Ehomaki.

    Tobu is also offering about 100 types of this auspicious roll on Setsubun, where 28 of them are specially made for their 55th-anniversary celebration, so you should be able to find something that suits your taste and budget!

    Tobu Department Store Website *Japanese only
    Access

    Now that you’ve seen that there are so many interesting variations of the traditional Ehomaki, why not give this a try on the night of Setsubun and have a hearty feast while bringing in good luck for yourself?

    Related Articles:
    100 Things to Do in Ginza, the Most Glamorous and Stylish District in Tokyo, in 2018!
    77 Things to Do in Ikebukuro to Make the Most of Your Visit to Tokyo in 2018!
    97 Things to Do in Osaka, the Japanese City of Street Food, Culture, and Comedy, in 2018

    Related articles
    100 Things to Do in Okinawa, the Beach Island Paradise of Japan, in 2018
    12 Hotels on Okinawa, Miyako, Ishigaki, and Iriomote Islands for a Perfect Stay in 2018