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Onigiri shops bring stylish look, new flavors to Japanese fast food

Specialty outlets enjoy growing popularity, inspiring plans to expand overseas

Onigiri rice balls at Onigiri Ichigo are made fresh for every order.

TOKYO -- Specialty shops that sell "onigiri" rice balls in Japan are adding a new twist to the staple Japanese food that makes for a quick and easy snack, luring in women and youngsters amid falling domestic rice consumption.

Those efforts include promoting rice produced by a shop's operator and increasing the visual appeal of the food with a variety of toppings and fillings. The number of the new types of onigiri shops in the country is rising.

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