If you’re an avid sushi fan, you may know inari as an unusual type of sushi coming in the form of a lump of sushi rice wrapped up in a sack of fried tofu. In Japan, the word also refers to one of the country’s traditional deities.
According to legend, Inari was the god or goddess of food, tea, rice, sake, agriculture, and industry. Alternatively depicted as either male or female, this deity was known to be adept at trickery. Stories tell of the deity taking many forms, commonly a kitsune fox, a bearded old man, or a beautiful young woman. Other forms have included a snake, a spider, a dragon, and other animals. In whatever form Inari took, he or she was said to protect rice crops and bring good luck to merchants and farmers, particularly in regards to rice.
Inari’s name was given to the tofu-wrapped sushi because the deity was said to have a particular liking for tofu. You can experience this old favorite for yourself at Sushi Hana in Bothell.