七福神あられ Shichi fukujin arare (Seven Lucky Gods) rice crackers
This local treat has a special place in my heart, since my family is from Gunma! Gunma is a prefecture in the northwest corner of Kanto region and is famous for skiing, hot springs, and holds the hometown of the main protagonist of anime and manga series Initial D. These senbei crackers come in (you guessed it) seven flavours — one for each of the seven lucky gods of fortune from traditional Japanese folklore.
I remember eating these all the time since I was a child… every self-respecting Gunma hometowner will know this senbei snack!
The seven lucky gods of fortune correspond with flavors as such:
- Hotei – a chubby god of abundance and good health. Cheese flavor.
- Juro-jin – god of longevity. Pepper flavor.
- Fukurokuju – god of happiness, wealth and longevity. Shiso flavor.
- Bishamonten – god of warriors. Curry flavor.
- Benzaiten – goddess of knowledge, the arts and beauty. Butter flavor.
- Daikokuten – god of wealth, commerce and trade. Ao nori (seaweed) flavor.
- Ebisu – god of fishers or merchants. Shrimp flavor.
If you bought Shichi Fukushin Arare in a larger bag or box, it often came with a bunch of stickers with drawings of the gods on them. I put them ALL OVER the furniture in our home, and even now there’s a few hidden around our home. I remember always hating butter, for some reason. It’s probably because I had a serious hate for the color pink.
As far as I can tell, you can’t buy this senbei outside of Japan, but if you poke around Rakuten maybe you can find it!
Have you ever had Seven Lucky Gods rice crackers? What were your favourite flavors?