Rice crackers are a Japanese traditional snack. Even outside of Japan, it’s popular among people who care about lower fat & no cholesterol diets.

Do you have your favorite rice cracker? If you go to an oriental market, you possibly have hard time to choose one because there are so many choices.

In this page, you’ll get to know about Japanese crackers. And also Kansai Chick will pick some rice cracker products from a market and give them reviews.

Table of Contents

Rice Cracker Trivia

Names of Japanese Rice Crackers

Arare Rice Crackers
Arare (あられ)

We Japanese call rice crackers by size. I bet you see those Japanese words “あられ”,”おかき” or ”せんべい” on the package of Japanese rice crackers constantly.

Okaki Rice Crackers
Okaki (おかき)

According to Japan National Rice Confectionery Industrial Association, the technical rule is below.

Name / Main Ingredient / Size
Arare (あられ) / sweet rice / small (about 1″ or less)
Okaki (おかき) / sweet rice / larger than Arare
Senbei (せんべい, 煎餅) / regular Japanese rice / medium – large

Arare and Okaki melt well in a mouth after chewing. There are so many different textures of Senbei, from rocky hard to lightly soft. Also, hybrid rice crackers exist too.

Senbei Rice Crackers
Senbei (せんべい)

On the other hand, people tend to call anything flat and crispy “Senbei” regardless of the ingredients. Ebi-sen (shrimp senbei) made from starch is one example.

Rice Crackers and Dr.SLUMP

Main characters for “Dr.SLUMP” Arale and Senbei are named after Arare and Senbei. Their family name “Norimaki (則巻)” also named after Norimaki (海苔巻き) which means “wrapped with seaweed”.

What is Wet Rice Cracker?

Wet Rice Cracker (ぬれおかき)

Usually rice crackers must be dry and crispy. Everybody knows moisture ruins their texture. However, Wet Rice Cracker (ぬれおかき, ぬれせんべい) do exist. They are soaked in the sauce on purpose and its texture is very moist and chewy!

Japanese Culture and Rice Cracker

We see many people enjoying rice crackers and green tea for everyday snack in Japanese TV show like Anime. But some rice crackers are very special and they are only for the special occasion.

For example, Hina Arare (ひなあられ) is one of the most famous cultural rice crackers. Hina Arare is small round colorful rice cracker only for Doll’s Festival “Hina Matsuri(ひなまつり, 雛祭り)” on March 3rd. It is an occasion to pray for young girls’ growth and happiness. Japanese people who cerebrate Doll’s Festival, prepare traditional foods and Hina Arare is one of them.

Hina Arare
Hina Arare (ひなあられ)

Clean Way to Eat Large Rice Crackers

If the rice cracker is individually wrapped, you can break it small BEFORE you open the wrapper. Japanese people sometimes do this trick to eat it clean or reduce some work for their teeth.

Rice Crackers Reviews by Kansai Chick

Nori Maki Senbei (rice crackers wrapped in seaweed) Review

Kameda Norimaki Senbei Review

Nori Maki Senbei (海苔巻せんべい) is the generic name of medium or large size rice crackers wrapped in seaweed. “Nori (海苔)” means seaweed and “Maki (巻き)” means wrapped. Same type but smaller cracker is “Nori Maki Arare” and they are popular too.

The maker of this product “Kameda Seika(亀田製菓)” is very well-known rice cracker company in Japan.

Individually wrapped crackers are in the transparent container and they look very secured against shocks. As they say “Roasted Seaweed Finish (焼海苔仕上げ)”in the oval on the package, the seaweed smells good. It comes off half way when biting it.

On the vertical red line says “Bonito Stock Soy Sauce (鰹だししょうゆ)” and I agree with this too. It tastes different from simple soy sauce. I think most of people realize this certain type of umami and sweetness.

However, it’s a very HARD cracker! I mean that THIS is the regular rice cracker. You need strong teeth to bite it.

Individual Wrap: Yes
Calories per piece: 20
Maker: Kameda Seika (亀田製菓)

Kansai Chick Recommendation Rate:
3 stars

Sugar Glazed Crispy Rice Cracker Yukinoyado(雪の宿) Review

Sugar Glazed Crispy Rice Cracker Yukinoyado Review

The product name “Yukinoyado (雪の宿)” means Snow Inn. The very light icing scattered over the light crispy salted rice cracker. “Shelly Shenbei” by Taiwanese company is similar product.

The cracker itself is very light and way softer than regular senbei. But calories are higher because of some ingredients such as vegetable oil, sugar and cream.

On the package, I see the same kind of selling phrases here and there. In short, its milky flavor seems to be better than before.

Individual Wrap: Yes (2 pieces ea.)
Calories per piece: 31
Maker: Sanko Seika (三幸製菓)

Kansai Chick Recommendation Rate:
3 stars

Age Ichiban (Deep Fried Rice Crackers) Review

Age Ichiban (Deep Fried Rice Crackers) Review

The product name “Age Ichiban (揚一番)” means Deep Fried No.1 Best. As the name suggests, this is a very popular deep fried rice cracker in Japan. Some companies are making the same type of deep fried cracker as this product because this style is traditional.

The texture is not that hard and nicely crispy. The green circle on the package says it’s not greasy and delicious. And, that’s absolutely right.

Purple rectangle on the package says “Rich Flavor of Soy Sauce (コクのある醤油味)” but I say it’s more like “Honey & Soy Sauce Flavor”. Saltiness, sweetness and umami are well balanced.

It’s a deep fried snack, so the calories are higher than regular rice crackers. However, I think it’s worth to try once at least.

Individual Wrap: Yes
Calories per piece: 39
Maker: Kameda Seika (亀田製菓)

Kansai Chick Recommendation Rate:
4 stars

Onigiri Senbei Review

Onigiri Senbei Review

The word“Onigiri (おにぎり)” means “rice ball” in Japanese. The triangle shape is after the traditional shape of rice ball. Some small pieces of seaweed are on the surface. The image on the package is the actual size.

The crackers are NOT individually wrapped but bag is small (62g). The package says “It’s good size to finish up at once!(食べきりサイズだよ!)”.

The taste is nicely mild sweet soy sauce and this product is the favorite rice cracker of so many kids in Japan. However, we need to be very careful about the price. Because this product is sometimes way too overpriced outside of Japan! FYI: The 62g bag is about $1 in Japan and I found a 28g bag is sold $6.50 online in USA.

Individual Wrap: No (Bag size is vary.)
Calories per piece: 23
Maker: Masuya (株式会社マスヤ)

Kansai Chick Recommendation Rate:
3 stars

Wasabi Kakinotane (wasabi flavored small rice crackers) Review

Wasabi Kakinotane (wasabi flavored small rice crackers) Review

Kakinotane (かきのたね, 柿の種) is the generic name of small rice crackers this shape. The word Kaki-no-tane means persimmon seed. (I don’t think it look like it though.)

Kakinotane is very popular classic snack for drinking in Japan. This is wasabi flavored one and it tastes like real wasabi! It’s yummy but, if you can’t handle that kind of spiciness, you should stay away from this product and find the regular soy sauce one.

Individual Wrap: No
Calories per piece: less than 1
Maker: Uegaki Beika (植垣米菓)

Kansai Chick Recommendation Rate:
3 stars

Related Videos

Coming Soon!

Japanese Product Reviews


  • National Rice Confectionery Industrial Association (全国米菓工業組合)
  • Kameda Seika Co.,Ltd. (亀田製菓株式会社)