Ehomaki: The Festive Large Sushi Roll You Eat As A Whole

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Ehomaki is a type of maki roll that is traditionally eaten on Setsubun, the day before the start of spring in Japan. The name ehomaki comes from the Japanese words for “lucky direction” and refers to the fact that the roll is eaten facing the lucky direction of the year.

Ehomaki is typically made with nori (seaweed) wrapped around sushi rice and fillings such as fish, vegetables, or eggs. It is usually quite large, but people try to eat the roll as a whole on the festival day.

Eating ehomaki is said to bring good luck, so it is a popular dish to eat on Setsubun.

What is ehomaki

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What is Setsubun?

Setsubun is a Japanese festival that takes place on the day before the start of spring. It is traditional to eat ehomaki on this day, as it is said to bring good luck. The festival is also known for mamemaki, or “bean-throwing” ceremonies, in which people throw beans at a demon or ogre to drive away bad luck.

What’s the origin of ehomaki?

The tradition of eating ehomaki on Setsubun is thought to have started in the Edo period (1603-1868). It is said a Buddhist monk named Tokujyo created the roll as a lucky food to eat on the festival day

Ehomaki became more popular in the Showa period (1926-1989), when it started to be sold in stores as a Setsubun festival food. Nowadays, you can find ehomaki year-round in many supermarkets and convenience stores in Japan.

Ehomaki is now also known as futomaki across the world since it was pickup up in the 1960s by a large convenience store and grew in popularity from there.

it’s the same large roll with multiple ingredients, but without the ceremony.

How do you eat ehomaki?

There is no set way to eat ehomaki, but it is traditional to eat the roll whole, without cutting it into pieces while facing the right direction for that year. This is said to ensure good luck for the entire year.

Also read: how many sushi rolls do you eat per person?

Where is the Setsubun festival?

The Setsubun festival is celebrated all over Japan, but some of the most popular places to celebrate are at shrines and temples. One of the most famous places to celebrate Setsubun is at Sensoji temple in Tokyo, where people can buy ehomaki and mamemaki beans to take home with them.


Ehomaki may only be a celebratory dish, but it has sparked a whole new form of making sushi that’s made it more popular than ever.

Also read: is sushi actually Chinese or Japanese, or perhaps Korean?

Check out our new cookbook

Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

Try it out for free with Kindle Unlimited:

Read for free

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.