Senbei Crackers

Senbei, alternatively spelled sembei, are a type of Japanese rice crackers. They come in various shapes, sizes, and flavors, usually savory but sometimes sweet. Senbei are often eaten with green tea as a casual snack and offered to visiting house guests as a courtesy refreshment.

Senbei are usually cooked by being baked or grilled, traditionally over charcoal. While being prepared they may be brushed with a flavoring sauce, often one made of soy sauce and mirin. They may then be wrapped with a layer of nori. Alternatively, they may be flavored with salt or “salad” flavoring, among others. 
Kyoto senbei are made from mochigome rice while Tokyo senbei are made from regular Japanese rice. As a result, Kyoto senbei have a more delicate texture.
Senbei make an excellent souvenir. Practically every prefecture in Japan has a local variety of senbei that’s sold in convenient gift packaging.


Ever since my days of living in Hawaii many years ago, these have been a favorite of mine. In Kyoto you will encounter a wonderful variety.

On my recent trip I visited one shop that has been making and selling their senbei for over 150 years. As you exit Nijo-Jinja, turn left and walk towards Nijo Castle. It will be on your right on the corner of Omiya Dori and Oike Dori.


They can be found at the Nishiki Market as well as these places: 
 
Ogura Sansou
Inari Kyoto

Located in Fushimi.

Terakoya Honpo
Located in Ohara.