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Makizushi - All You Need To Know About Sushi Rolls

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This article focuses on the different types of makizushi, also known as rolled sushi or sushi rolls, found in Japan including their common ingredients, how to make them yourself, different variations and where to get them.


Makizushi is also known as rolled sushi or sushi rolls. This common type of sushi is made from seaweed and vinegared rice filled with different ingredients such as fish and vegetables. Seaweed is one of the main ingredients in this type of sushi so it is also often referred to as norimaki (seaweed roll).

What distinguishes makizushi from other types of sushi is that you can enjoy several different flavors in the same roll. There are several types of makizushi, not only based on the ingredients, but also on the thickness of the roll itself.

There is a version called Temaki Sushi, "te" means "hand" in Japanese. It received its name because it is rolled by hand without any tools. It is rolled into a cone rather than a cylinder. Other than this, it is very similar to most other kinds of makizushi.

In this article, we will take a look at the different types of makizushi that are common in Japan.

The Different Types of Makizushi

There are many different kinds of makizushi. They mainly vary by their shape and how it is rolled. The following are the most common types of makizushi.

Hosomaki - Great for Snacking


From the top: the yellow roll is oshinkomaki, green is a cucumber roll, and the red is a shibazuke roll.

Hosomaki are long, thin makizushi. Although made in the same manner as other makizushi, hosomaki use half the seaweed of other rolls. They also tend to only contain one ingredient and are usually cut in bite-size pieces.

Two of the most common hosomaki are oshinomaki made from takuan. Takuan are yellow pickled daikon radish slices. Kyuri maki, or cucumber rolls, are another common option and typically called "kappa maki" in restaurants. Shibazuke, which is a type of pickle preserved with red shiso (perilla) leaves is another popular type of hosomaki.

Some of the most popular hosomaki in sushi restaurants are tekkamaki, made with red tuna meat, and negitoromaki, which is made with minced tuna and green onions. Nattomaki , one the other hand, is a good way to try natto and a popular choice for vegans and vegetarians.

Futomaki - Savor many Flavors at Once


Futomaki are thicker sushi rolls that feature a number of different ingredients. It usually contains omelet, sakura denbu and cucumber alongside other ingredients. You can even find futomaki rolls with grilled eel and other ingredients high-class ingredients. Depending on when and where you visit in Japan, you can even find fun, seasonal futomaki.

Setsubun is an event held in February and it involves a special futomaki called ehomaki. "Eho" refers to a lucky direction, this direction changes every year. The custom is that you should eat an entire ehomaki while facing this lucky direction. You must eat the entire roll in silence while thinking about a wish. If you can do this, it is believed that your wish is likely to come true.

This event originated in Osaka, but spread all across Japan. As a result, sales of futomaki or ehomaki surge during the first few days of February. During this time, these special rolls are being sold everywhere, from convenience stores over supermarkets to pop up stores. If you happen to be in Japan in February, why not try out this custom for yourself.

Uramakizushi - Roll it Inside Out


Uramakizushi is actually inverted makizushi. The sushi mat must be covered in plastic wrap when making uramakizushi to prevent sticking. Instead of the seaweed, the vinegared rice is first laid on the sushi mat. Then the seaweed followed by the other ingredients is placed on the rice before rolling the sushi up in the usual manner.

The bright white rolls are often rolled in sesame seeds or small fish eggs for a nicer presentation as well as extra flavor. Popular ingredients in uramakizushi include salmon or other raw fish, avocado, crab, lettuce, canned tuna and mayonnaise. and more. 

This type of makizushi was originally made with non-Japanese customers in mind, as the dark green of the seaweed was thought to be potentially off-putting to those not used to it. Now uramakizushi is considered to be a standard sushi enjoyed by everyone.

Temakizushi - No Sushi Mat Needed


Temakizushi means "hand rolled sushi" in Japanese. Just as its name indicates, these are sushi that you roll with your hands without the need of a sushi mat. Rather than something served in a restaurant, temakizushi are often made and eaten at home instead.

The base is a nori seaweed you hold in one hand as you add your desired ingredients on top of it. Once you have added the desired ingredients, you roll the seaweed into a cone. The ingredients in these rolls can be almost anything. Most common is raw fish, egg and vegetables. One of the best points of this kind of makizushi is that you can enjoy a different combination of toppings every time you make one.

Makizushi - Where to Eat It?


Makizushi is a very common type of Japanese food. You can find it at most sushi restaurants as well as in department stores, supermarkets, and even in convenience stores. It is also a very common food to be made at home as well

Makizushi - How Do You Make your Own?


If you want to make makizushi, you will need something called a makisu, or sushi mat. It is made from fine, thin pieces of bamboo held together with string. These sushi mats can easily be found in the cooking ware aisle of any supermarket and often even Asian markets in your country.

On this mat, you place the ingredients for the makizushi. The placement order is seaweed, sushi rice, then fish, egg or any other ingredients you would like to include in your roll. Next, you roll up the mat from one end to the other, pressing and holding the roll tightly so that it keeps its shape. Be careful not to overfill your makizushi as the seaweed might not be able to wrap the whole roll completely otherwise.

Generally speaking, the most popular ingredients in makizushi are cucumber, simmered shiitake mushrooms, Japanese rolled omelette and sakura denbu (cherry blossom preserved rousong also known as "meat wool"). After the makizushi has been tightly rolled up and the mat removed, the rolls can be cut to size and arranged on a plate.

Makizushi - One of Sushi's many Varieties

When hearing the word sushi, most people imagine a piece of fish sitting on top of rice. However, makizushi does belong in the same category.

While the price will vary based on the ingredients used, you can easily find makizushi in sushi restaurants, convenience stores, supermarkets and in department stores all across Japan. 

Why not give the different variations a try when you come to Japan?

The information presented in this article is based on the time it was written. Note that there may be changes in the merchandise, services, and prices that have occurred after this article was published. Please contact the facility or facilities in this article directly before visiting.