How to use a single-onigiri bento box

I really, really don’t need any more bento boxes. But when I spotted these incredibly adorable little onigiri boxes, I just couldn’t resist.


Since I have adopted them, it’s a good opportunity to show how to use this type of single-onigiri box.

These are meant to hold a single onigiri plus a little something else, so unless you have a very small appetite they are supplementary boxes to use for snack bentos. This particular model, which is made by Hakoya, has a lid section that holds a single onigiri, and a bottom section with an inner plastic lid that holds whatever sides you want with your onigiri. The box snaps shut with two little plastic clips, which are the ‘ears’ on the faces.

You can use the lid part as a mold and measuring cup for making your onigiri, using the plastic wrap/cling film and cup method. Here I have lined the lid/cup with plastic wrap, moistened the surface and sprinkled some salt.


I then pack in some rice. The lid/cup holds about 3/4th of a U.S. cup of rice, about 160ml and 160 calories - or 1 Japanese bowl of rice (一膳 ichizen). The filling is salted salmon, one of my favorites.


I then form and wrap the onigiri, following the steps detailed on the plastic wrap onigiri forming page, making sure that the onigiri ends up as a triangle.

The onigiri fits perfectly in the lid. The nori seaweed strips are tucked outside the plastic wrap to prevent them from getting soggy. I wrap them around the onigiri when I eat it. The little compartment holds some forgotten vegetable kinpira. You could pack some finger-foods in there if you want a utensil-free mini bento. The total calories in this particular mini-bento: about 210.


Where to get the onigiri bento boxes


I bought these amazingly cute beasties from Bento & Co., a relatively new online bento gear store. Based in Kyoto, Bento & Co. is run by a French guy, Thomas, and his Japanese wife Erico. It’s the most attractively designed bento site I’ve ever seen, with terrific pictures and great descriptions of all of the boxes they carry, including critical information for bento box collectors like capacity in mililiters, what material the box is made of, and so on. The selection of boxes and accessories is not huge, but really tasteful. I find myself coveting about 90% of their stock!

At the moment the site is in French only, but Thomas tells us that they are working on an English version of the site. In the meantime, you can email them in English (or French of course) about anything on their site at contact [at] bentoandco [dot] com. They ship worldwide from Japan. (We have no affiliation with Bento & Co. And yep, I ordered all three onigiri boxes. How could you choose between them?) Update: Bento&co. now has an English version of their site, and we’re happy to have them on board as advertisers on JustBento- since I was a repeat customer well before that!

For more bento recipes, ideas and tips, subscribe to Just Bento via your newsreader or by email (more about subscriptions).

And visit our sister site, Just Hungry for great Japanese home recipes and more.


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Re: How to use a single-onigiri bento box

Those boxes are killing me. I want the angry one! LOL

Re: How to use a single-onigiri bento box

Yeah, I think I like the angry guy best, too. Must resist urge to buy more bento accessories...

Re: How to use a single-onigiri bento box

Omg! those boxes want to make me squee... >.>...


Btw, considering how little french i know (i honestly should learn would do good for my cajun heritage) i am doing rather well figuring the website out and reading some of the stuff. XD They have a beautiful collection! Thanks for the link Maki!

Re: How to use a single-onigiri bento box

I don't think the guy one is supposed to look angry...he's supposed to look manly, since he is the only boy.

Incidentally, the boxes have names that are as cute as they look. The boy one is called Norio (nori-o..get it?), the pink one is Kome (kome = rice...also an old-fashioned girl name) and the yellow one is Tama (tama(go) = egg..yellow)....

Re: How to use a single-onigiri bento box

I bought a Blue dragonfly Urara Onigiri Bento Box that is 4.5 inches X 4.5 inches X 2.5 inches.

I thought it was for one onigiri and it seemed huge! But I just read now that it's supposed to hold two. How would I use your method for this kind of box?
I have a triangle mold that makes two at a time, but they are smaller than this box and would rattle around. You can see the mold in the picture.

I see it says on the package that it's made to hold two convenience store onigiri. How would I make that size and shape at home?

blue onigiri box and onigiri mold

Re: How to use a single-onigiri bento box

I don't have this box myself, but convenience store onigiri are usually rather thin, so you could fit in two thin onigiri. But what I would do is to do what I did with the multi-onigiri box - put in an onigiri of the size that you like, and fill up the rest of the space with something else, like some wrapped up fruit or something. Even a couple of napkins stuffed in would do, and you can use them to wipe your hands!

Re: How to use a single-onigiri bento box

At Super H Mart I recently found a pack of 10 sheets of nori double wrapped in plastic to make convenience store style onigiri that came with a triangular rice ball mold. The brand was Samhae. I have yet to develop a taste for nori, so I bought it just for the mold. It turns out that the mold makes onigiri the *perfect* size for my single onigiri box. (I have the Sakura box from Jlist that is the same size and style of the ones in this article and I LOVE it.) I over stuffed my onigiri just a bit, but anybody with a box like the one pictured would probably find that two relatively thin onigiri made with this mold would fit nicely.

Here is a link to the product I got (but it came with only 1 pack of nori) with a decent picture of the mold, so you can keep an eye out for it:

Re: How to use a single-onigiri bento box

Thanks for the demonstration !
So these are more like a snack box, or a side container to a bento box... damn, it should be a reasonable deterent against my buying it. Why am I still wanting those then ? (...and the iro iro set too.and the heno heno one. Plus the owan bentos. And the aluminium hello kitty... and...)

Anyway it's really nice of you to take the time to present the site ; I haven't bought anything from them yet but some of my friends did and were very satisfied with them, if I ever buy o box on the internet it'll probably be from that store.
Besides from having a really nice selection already, they're still very open to any comments or suggestions on the future content of the store ! Pretty refreshing I think ^^

Re: How to use a single-onigiri bento box

Im looking for a bento box, it cant be pinku (thats japanese for pink) or any girl color. It has to be of 2 or more kotoba (thats japanese for 2 compartments) and has be be chibi (small) sized. And has to be really kawaii (cute). Also It has to be about 10-20 bux. And you have to post pics of it first (i want to make shure it's kawaii (cute)). And it would be nice if it came with matching chopstick holder (WITH chopsticks). OH! and it CANNOT have any cartoon pictures, or be made out of plastic. It has to be made of ceramic, or something like that. Also it would be nice if it was made in japan. and not in china or corea (korea) or whatever. I have found a bento box similar to the one im describing in e-bay, but it was 1 kotoba, and i dont want my gohan (rice) to touch my other things (it can get wet and i would not like that, plus 2 compartments looks more kawaii)

Re: How to use a single-onigiri bento box

(The above comment seems to be some sort of odd meme or someone's idea of a joke. It dates back at least to 2007 or so. The internets eh.

And, kotoba is still not the correct word for 'compartment' in Japanese.)

Re: How to use a single-onigiri bento box

yeah it looks like "copypasta" to me. someone might have originally said it but enough people found it to be funny/embarrassing that they copied and pasted it around in a way to spread it around (because they want to share the humor) . Haven't seen this one before but it sounds like something someone would want to archive.

Re: How to use a single-onigiri bento box

Good luck with that! lol!

Re: How to use a single-onigiri bento box

Hee hee. At least it looks like the other Japanese words are correct...although I think 'pinku' is pretty self explanatory (and a bit rude, in some contexts!) Kotoba is just 'word' in English, right? My Nihongo is pretty rusty, I must admit. I think I will take up lessons again!

Re: How to use a single-onigiri bento box

I haven't even tried (yet!) to make onigiri but I'm seriously lusting after these boxes :)

Re: How to use a single-onigiri bento box

The faces are hilarious, very cute! My kids would really love them. Thanks for the pointer to the new store, I hadn't seen that one yet and will have to check it out. Thanks!

Re: How to use a single-onigiri bento box

They are just so cute!

Re: How to use a single-onigiri bento box

how much would shipping be (from this online shop) to ship it to america?

Re: How to use a single-onigiri bento box

We purchased several of these single onigiri boxes in Tokyo last summer (at Seibu's Loft) and only recently got them out for my children to use.

My first-grader broke the clasp on hers after only two uses. I'm not sure if she was unusually rough on it or if they're flimsy. Her other bento gear held up through the whole school year.

Re: How to use a single-onigiri bento box

This is a great guide on how to use them! I bought one in Tokyo but I got a panda face one because it is too cute! As you said, they really are irresistible. They had larger ones there as well so you could fit more side dishes in but they didn't have a small panda one. When I used it for my bento I didn't wrap it and put the nori in the side compartment so I couldn't have any sides but you've done it in a much better way. Thanks! :D

Re: How to use a single-onigiri bento box

I own two of these boxes, bought after getting a discount there after taking part in a bento competition. As a warning, the side compartment doesn't seal too tightly, so make sure any sides don't have any liquid in them! I put in some cooked green pepper once and the juice got everywhere. o: But the boxes are a perfect size for riceballs and the design is very cute~

While the website was great and the owners VERY helpful when a mistake was made in the ordering, I'm afraid I'll not be shopping there again after we were slapped with an extra charge of $20+ by the delivery company. :( A shame, some of the products for sale are so 'buy me! i'm cute!!'.

Re: How to use a single-onigiri bento box

I thought these onigiri boxes were so cute and I really want one. However, I was wondering if I should buy it from Jbox (theirs seems to be bigger I think) or from the Bento & Co. website. I just can't choose!!!

Re: How to use a single-onigiri bento box

I think that both sites have the dimensions in the descriptions - you can check those out and compare. Which boxes are you talking about?

Re: How to use a single-onigiri bento box

well the Norio Black on Jbox over here: and the one from Bento & Co. Thanx for your help! I'm not very sure which one is better to choose and the one from Jbox seems to be bigger. :D

Re: How to use a single-onigiri bento box

The descriptions say they are the same size (9 cm (3.5 inches) across), and they are also the same price ($11), so...I think that means they are the same! The Bento&co listing also has the capacity (250ml).

(There is a bigger version of that onigiri box, but I haven't seen it for sale outside of Japan yet.)

Re: How to use a single-onigiri bento box

THANX a bunch!!! You were a lot of help for me. :D

Re: How to use a single-onigiri bento box

I got a single-onigiri bento box a while ago but hardly ever use it, because I always take my two-compartment bento box with me anyway. So I only use it when I crave a snack at work; fill the rice bit with (wahey, triangular!) tortilla crisps (it's just the right size for a good portion without feeling too guilty) and the side dish bit with guacamole... :)

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