Oshizushi: sushi cubed not rolled

Learn about oshizushi and how it’s different from your average sushi.  Also find out where you can get it near you.

oshizushi oshi sushi pressed sushi

Where Can I Get it?  |  How Can I Make It?

What is oshizushi? 

Oshizushi (a.k.a. oshi sushi—meaning “pressed sushi” or hakozushi / hako sushi—meaning “box sushi” in Osaka) is a traditional variation of sushi created during the 18th century in Osaka, Japan.  It is pressed inside of a detachable wooden box known as an oshibako, oshizushihako, or hakozushigata.  This creates a perfect rectangular or cubed shape.  Known for its clean aesthetic, this block-shaped sushi can fit perfectly in a bento box and is often arranged in an eye catching pattern.

oshizushi oshi sushi bento box

Pressed sushi can simply consist of fish and rice, or can be complexified with multiple layers of rice, seafood, and other sushi ingredients.  One important characteristic of this type of sushi is that the fish is always cooked or cured.  A specific version that uses mackerel is called battera, which means “box cured mackerel” and is derived from the Portuguese word bateria or “small boat.”  A less common variation of pressed sushi uses a cylindrical oshibako to form the sushi into a puck-like shape.


Where can I get it?  You can find oshizushi at select traditional and contemporary sushi restaurants.  These are just a handful of places that craft this unique style of sushi.

Chicago, IL: Blowfish Contemporary Sushi
 oshizushi blowfish chicago
?: Blowfish Contemporary Sushi on Facebook

New York, NY: SenYa
 oshizushi oshi sushi new york
?: SenYa on Facebook

New Orleans, LA: Ninja Sushi
 oshizushi new orleans
?: Ninja Sushi on Facebook

San Diego, CA (La Jolla): Roy’s
oshizushi san diego
?: Roy’s on Facebook

Washington D.C.: Kotobuki 
oshizushi washington dc
?: Kotobuki on Facebook

Looking for more places that serve oshizushi?  You can find them on Glutto right here.


How can I make it?   Anyone can easily make oshizushi. Just buy some sushi at your local Japanese restaurant or market and press it into an oshibako.  However, if you want to create it in a more authentic manner, here is a simple process you can follow…

Special Tools



  • 1 cup cooked sushi rice
  • 1/2 cup imitation crab (can also use cooked shrimp, or cured salmon/mackerel – sliced lengthwise)
  • optional layers:
    • nori
    • fresh cucumber (very thinly sliced)
    • avocado (thinly sliced)
  • rice vinegar (for coating wooden oshibako and dipping fingers)



  1. First, completely coat the inside of your oshibako with rice vinegar to prevent the ingredients from sticking.
  2. Line the bottom of the oshibako with a layer of imitation crab.
  3. Then, if you like, add layers of avocado, cucumber and nori. (Make sure to leave room for the rice.)
  4. Wet your fingers with rice vinegar. Cover the ingredients with an even layer of rice…all the way into the corners.  Keep the rice below the rim of the box.
  5. Firmly press the ingredients together with the cover of the oshibako so they are tightly packed.
  6. Remove the pressed sushi from the oshibako and slice into pieces.
  7. Arrange the pieces on a plate or in a bento box with imitation crab side up. Enjoy!

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