Inarizushi is a kind of sushi which does not use raw fish, but fried tofu called aburaage, which is cut opened, filled with rice. Aburaage is seasoned sweet with sugar, soy sauce, and sweet rice wine. The rice is seasoned with vinegar, and sometimes ingredients such as carrots and shiitake mushrooms are mixed with rice.
Inarizushi is not usually served at luxury sushi restaurants, but common to be sold at takeout sushi places and delicatessen. People also make inarizushi at home and take to picnic. The place of the origin of inarizushi is said to be Toyokawa inari temple town, where is the present Toyokawa city, Aichi prefecture, and was created in the Great Famine of Tempo era, which was in the Edo period (1603-1868).
The word inari comes from the favourite food of fox which is aburaage, and fox is believed to be a messenger of the god of inari. From the old tales, fox’s favourite food was originally rat, and when catching foxes, fried rats were actually used as baits. Then people started to offer aburaage, which is fired, to the shrine of the god of inari. The sushi using aburaage, which is related to inari shrine, started to be called inarizushi.
There is a difference between inarizushi from Kanto region, which is East part of Japan, and Kansai region, which is West part of Japan. In the Kanto region, Inarizushi comes in a shape of straw rice bag, which is long round shape. In Kansai region, inarizushi comes in a triangular shape, and sesame seed are often mixed in rice.