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Japanese Food Article

Temari Sushi (手まり寿司)

Temari Sushi (手まり寿司)

 When autumn comes, a lot of autumn ingredients will be on the market. It’s everyone’s favorite season not only because of the cool weather but also because of good food. Speaking of seasonal food of autumn, what is the first thing that spring to your mind? This time, we would like to talk about sushi temari sushi.

What is Temari sushi?

Temari sushi (手毬寿司), also known as temarizushi, are round sushi rice balls that have decorative toppings including sashimi, vegetables, seaweed, and fish roe. They are frequently formed onto the iconic round shape using plastic wrap, and you can garnish them however elaborately or simply you desire. Temari sushi consists of parts: the bottom part with sushi rice and the top part with ingredients of your choice. If you love sushi, use your favorite sashimi (raw fish) as the topping (Temari-sushi is not good for bento if you’re using raw fish). It’s the same as putting sashimi on it, but Temari sushi also puts pickles on it. The Japanese serve Temari sushi on happy occasions like Hinamatsuri (Girl’s Day: March 3) in Japan. 

In addition to sashimi and pickles, there are also carrots that have been cut out, topped with okra, and wrapped in perilla. The only remarkable skills required, in contrast to making nigiri and maki, are a keen eye for color and pattern. Your imagination is the only limitation. It will serve as a guide since you’ll be using plastic wrap to create your round sushi balls.


Temari Sushi (手まり寿司)

A traditional Japanese embroidered ball used for play is called a “Temari (手毬)”, which translates to “handball” in English. Temari balls are no longer consider to be primarily a child’s toy, but rather more of a decorative piece for the home. Locals based the Temarisushi on these vibrant Temari balls, as you would have guessed.

Temari Sushi History

Temari Sushi (手まり寿司)

In the Edo period, locals pickled the sushi for preservation (soy sauce pickled, salted pickled, vinegar pickled, roasted) and simmered dishes (sushi, sushi) at that time, so there was no refrigerator at that time. And by this, many knew that vendors first sell the Edomae at their stand. 

Before the war, there was a small rice ball with a consistent size. However, the amount of sushi rice there gradually changed. Locals enlarged the size of the sushi rice and changed its shape. The history of Temari sushi has been born in recent years. History is not that deep. It doesn’t require the same technique as regular sushi, so it’s easy to make and eat. The Japanese made it as sushi first for the whole family to enjoy. Temarizushi is bite-sized sushi. The sushi itself is one bite-sized, but is famous for its smaller and rounded shape, which they also called Kyosushi because it originated from Kyoto prefecture. They made it easy and elegant for maiko (apprentice geisha) to eat in bite-sized pieces so that they don’t stick to their lipstick.

Temari Sushi Recipe 

Temari Sushi (手まり寿司)

Temari Sushi Ingredients

Ingredients of Temari Sushi for 2 person
Sashimi (4 types)43g

How to make Temari Sushi

 Combining all the ingredients

Mix all the ingredients for sushi vinegar. Even if the sugar doesn’t dissolve completely, it dissolves when combined with warm rice.

Adding sushi vinegar to the mix

Add sushi vinegar to the rice, mix it like, and let it cool when the sushi vinegar completely combined to the whole ingredients.

Molding the sushi

Spread the wrap, place the sashimi cut into 1/2 to 1/3, and put a spoonful of vinegared rice on it. Then, squeeze the wrap to shape it.


When shaping with plastic wrap, try to squeeze gently without exerting any force. When the shape is round and beautiful, it is complete. Then, add wasabi to your liking.

Be sure to cool the vinegared rice thoroughly before making Temari sushi. Consider the combination of ingredients to improve the color of Temari sushi. Roll the squid with the perilla and use sliced ​​cucumber to make it look like a warship roll. 

Temari Sushi Arrangement 

Temari Sushi (手まり寿司)

Colorful Temarizushi

Among the colorful Temarizushi, the one that stands out is the yellow Temarizushi, which looks like a flower. It is an indispensable item for Hinamatsuri, cherry blossom viewing, and parties. If you top the broth egg with parsley or green laver, it will look even more beautiful.

Western-style Temarizushi

Western-style Temarizushi with gorgeous pink ham and orange smoked salmon. Since the vinegared rice contains rolled cream cheese, it may surprise the person who ate it. 

Temarizushi with avocado and sweet shrimp

Temarisushi made with mayonnaise on sweet shrimp and creamy avocado is a dish that even children who are not good at seafood will eat deliciously.

Temarizushi with eel kabayaki

Temarizushi made with eel kabayaki does not use raw food, so it is safe to put it in your lunch box in the summer. The kabayaki sauce soaks into the rice, making it very delicious sushi.

Various Temari sushi

Temari Sushi (手まり寿司)

To match Western-style ingredients

Melt the wasabi in vinegar to make wasabi vinegar rice, or mix Western-style ingredients such as roast beef, smoked salmon, and prosciutto with grated cheese and black pepper. Arranging vinegared rice expands the range of flavors and gives a pleasant surprise to the eater.

On a wooden plate

Locals lined up the Temari sushi on a wooden plate. The points when making it are not to grip it too tightly and to think about the ingredients so that it will be colorful.

Two-color camellia Temari sushi wrapped in radish

Temari sushi expresses yellow pistil with finely chopped takuan on petals by soaking sliced ​​radish in dashi vinegar.

Serve on a bamboo colander

Each vinegared rice weighs 50g, and attention is in the colors used to make it look gorgeous, such as yellow eggs, green vegetables, radishes and salted pink cherry blossoms.

Temari sushi is popular with kids

Temari Sushi (手まり寿司)

Temari sushi is a popular choice with children. Making the Temarisushi is a great activity for the children to do indoors when it won’t stop raining and you need cheering up. It is satisfying to shape the sushi when you have to wrap it in clingfilm and then to un-wrap it revealing a perfectly formed round ball.

Where to buy Temari Sushi

Mametora Gion store (祇をん 豆寅 祇園店)

At the kaiseki restaurant “Mametora”, you can enjoy small bean sushi (Temari sushi) carefully made. While cherishing the tradition of Kyoto cuisine, you can enjoy seasonal ingredients with a unique Japanese taste. They made their Temari sushi with Kyoto vegetables and seasonal ingredients. 

Address: 570-235, South Gionmachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture
Phone number: 075-532-3955
Hours open: [Lunch] 11:30 – 15:00 (LO14: 00) [Dinner] 17:00 – 20:30

Hana Azusa (花梓侘)

This store has their Temari sushi beautifully placed in a case that the owner divided into grids. They made their sushi rice with red vinegar to reduce the sweetness, and the ingredients on top are tuna of zuke, sea bream of kelp, and raw yuba and raw sushi that are unique to Kyoto.

Address: 55 Kamigamo Imaigahara-cho, Kita-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Phone number: 075-491-7056
Hours open: 9: 00-11: 00, 12: 00-14: 00 [open on Sundays Regular holiday: Wednesday]

Rokusei (六盛)

Temari sushi lunch boxes from the long-established restaurant “Rokusei” are on sale in the Isetan underground shopping area. The bento box with a cute round case in two tiers is with seven Temari sushi with sea bream, shrimp, and anako on the first tier, and omelet rolls and seasonal dishes on the second tier.

Address: JR Kyoto Isetan B2F, Shiokoji-dori, Karasuma-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto-shi, Kyoto
Phone number: 075-352-3316
Hours open: [Monday-Sunday] 10:00-20:00

Final Thoughts

Temari Sushi (手まり寿司)

If you’ve never heard of or eaten Temari sushi, then you’re in for a treat. These pretty sushi balls are good for parties and festive gatherings, and even though they are so colorful and striking, they are not hard to make. Just like every other type of sushi, they are customizable, and they have the cute factor necessary for kids or appetizers.

There are so many types of Japanese sushi in Japan that you should definitely try. If you are into a voyage for it, we have a list of the must-try sushi and sashimi.

Temari Sushi (手まり寿司)

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