Ohagi (Botamochi) Japanese Sweet Rice Balls

Ohagi botamochi recipe

The Spruce / Cara Cormack

Prep: 60 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 90 mins
Servings: 8 to 10 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
206 Calories
6g Fat
34g Carbs
5g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8 to 10
Amount per serving
Calories 206
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 8%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 62mg 3%
Total Carbohydrate 34g 12%
Dietary Fiber 3g 10%
Total Sugars 16g
Protein 5g
Vitamin C 0mg 1%
Calcium 52mg 4%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 169mg 4%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Ohagi, or botamochi, are sweet rice balls which are usually made with glutinous rice. They are commonly eaten during higan periods in spring and autumn, a Buddhist holiday celebrated by Japanese sects during both equinoxes. The name, ohagi, came from the autumn flower, hagi (bush clover). Traditionally, sweet rice balls made during the spring higan are called botamochi which is named after the spring flower, botan.

This recipe calls for two kinds of rice: glutinous and Japanese. Glutinous rice is a sticky, often sweet rice grown in Southeast Asia. It is called glutinous not because it contains gluten, but due to its stickiness. Mochi is a Japanese rice cake made from glutinous rice. Japanese rice is a short-grain, polished white rice. You can use either a rice cooker or stovetop for this recipe—simply adjust the time if you are cooking rice in a pot on the stove.


For Rice Balls:

  • 2 1/2 cups glutinous rice (mochi gome)

  • 1/2 cup Japanese rice

  • 3 cups water

For Toppings:

  • 3/4 pound anko (sweet azuki bean paste)

  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

  • 3 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided

  • 3 tablespoons black sesame seeds

  • 1/3 cup kinako (soybean powder)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ohagi botamochi ingredients
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  2. Put both kinds of rice in a bowl and wash with cold water.

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  3. Drain the rice in a colander and set aside for 30 minutes.

    Drain rice
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  4. Place the rice in a rice cooker and add 3 cups water. Let the rice soak in the water for 30 minutes. Start the cooker.

    Place rice in rice cooker
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  5. Meanwhile, grind the walnuts with 2 tablespoons sugar. Grind the kinako with 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar. Grind the sesame seeds with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Set all 3 aside.

  6. Put prepared toppings into separate bowls.

    Put prepared toppings in bowls
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  7. When rice is cooked, let it steam for 15 minutes.

    Let rice steam
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  8. Mash the rice with wooden pestle or spoon until sticky.

    Mash the rice
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  9. Wet hands and shape the rice into oval balls.

    Wet hands and shape rice
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  10. Cover rice balls with different toppings and serve.

    Cover rice balls
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  11. Enjoy!

    Ohagi botamochi
    The Spruce / Cara Cormack