Onigiri Bongo in Tokyo

Cheap, versatile, and convenient, the humble onigiri is a fuss-free favourite amongst the Japanese when they need a quick snack. At Onigiri Bongo, however, one does not simply drop by to grab and go. Known to serve the best onigiri in Tokyo, the 62-year-old eatery redefines the staple Japanese food. 

Best onigiri shop in Tokyo  

Onigiri Bongo - onigiri
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Opened in 1960, Onigiri Bongo has been serving made-to-order rice balls for over 60 years. Upon entering the shop space, customers will be greeted with a warm, synchronised, and boisterous welcome.

Onigiri Bongo - ikura and salmon onigiriImage credit: @katomim

Seats at Onigiri Bongo are counter-facing, just like what you’d see in upscale sushi restaurants. There, you can watch the practised movement of the kitchen staff as they swiftly roll out steamy rice balls one after another. 

Onigiri Bongo - onigiriImage credit: @ti081009

According to Onigiri Bongo, one of their biggest trade secrets is the way they form rice balls. Exerting just enough pressure without squishing the delicate rice grains results in a fluffy onigiri that holds itself together in your hand and crumbles in your mouth. 

Onigiri Bongo - onigiri setImage credit: @_y_food____

The onigiri at Onigiri Bongo go for ¥300-¥600 (~USD2.17-USD4.34) each. If you’re feeling peckish, get the lunch set as it comes with 2 (¥700, ~USD5.06) or 3 (¥1,000, ~USD7.23) onigiri of your choice, as well as a free flow of tofu miso soup on the side. 

Onigiri Bongo - onigiri setImage credit: @asaotakako

On Saturdays, they even offer a special set (¥800, ~USD5.78) that’s limited to only 100 customers. The set comprises 2 onigiri, tofu miso soup, boiled egg, pickle vegetables, and a small side dish.

Over 50 flavours to choose from 

Onigiri Bongo - counterImage credit: @kahoringo718

Onigiri Bongo offers a whopping 55 flavours to choose from, from classics such as salmon to unique ones such as mentaiko mayo cream cheese and peperoncino. 

Onigiri Bongo - counterImage credit: @kanimiso_nyomnyom

Though most of us have felt annoyed by a store-bought onigiri with a pathetic amount of filling, that won’t happen at Onigiri Bongo. No matter which flavour you pick at Onigiri Bongo, you’d get a humongous rice ball stuffed to the brim with ingredients.

The shop prides itself on its generous portions. As compared to rice balls sold elsewhere, the rice-to-filling ratio here is 2:1, which means that every bite is the perfect harmony of fluffy white rice, crispy nori, and savoury filling.  

Onigiri Bongo - counterImage credit: @yuichiro.0731

There’s even a menu option that allows customers to go ham on the amount of filling or add extra toppings to create their own Frankenstein onigiri from just ¥50 (~US0.36) onwards. 

Visiting Onigiri Bongo in Tokyo

Onigiri Bongo - store frontImage credit: @nbyk_szk

Onigiri Bongo is a short 2-minute walk from JR Ōtsuka Station. If you’re lost, look out for a Family Mart that’s in the vicinity of the station’s North Exit – the onigiri speciality shop is located right across the street.

Onigiri Bongo - onigiriImage credit: @shiori_eateat

Snaking queues are spotted even before the shop opens for business for the day, so we recommend going at least 30 minutes before if you want to avoid waiting for hours, or drop by during off-peak hours. 

Address: 2 Chome−26−3 Kaneda Building 1st Floor, Kitaotsuka, Toshima City 170-0004, Tokyo
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 11.30am-12am (Closed on Sundays)
Lunch set hours: Mon-Fri 11.30am-3.30pm
Dinner set hours: 10pm-12am, Daily
Contact: 0339-10-5617 | Onigiri Bongo Website

Don’t know what else to do in Tokyo? Check out:

Cover image adapted from (from left to right): @ti081009, @kahoringo718, and @asaotakako

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