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Difference between Hosomaki and Uramaki

Sushi is arguably the most internationally recognized dish in Japanese cuisine.

There are so many varieties of this rice dish, and it can be made with different ingredients or shaped in a variety of ways.

One of the most popular types of sushi are the rolled varieties which are also known as “maki”.

These small tube-shaped rolls are made with rice and a variety of other ingredients wrapped tightly in a sheet of dried seaweed known as nori.

Maki sushi includes varieties such as hosomaki and uramaki.

Hosomaki and uramaki are essentially made up of the same components, which are then sliced into small rolls.

However, both sushi rolls are different, with distinctive features that can be used to differentiate them from each other and other varieties of rolled sushi.

In this post we discuss the differences between both uramaki and hosomaki.

What’s the difference between uramaki and hosomaki? 

The main differences between uramaki and hosomaki sushi are how the ingredients are arranged and their relative sizes. 

In Uramaki sushi, the rice can be found on the most exterior portion of the sushi rolled around nori and a variety of fillings while in hosomaki, the rice is pressed and nori is rolled over both the rice and filling.

Hosomaki is also relatively thinner than uramaki sushi and often consists of only one filling.  

What is hosomaki?

When translated to English, Hosomaki is a Japanese word that means “thin roll.”  

This variety of rolled sushi is sliced into small circular bite-sized pieces.

Hosomaki could also be made into triangles or teardrops shapes.

They are served as an appetizer because of their small size or alongside other larger varieties of sushi.

Hosomaki is thinner compared to other types of maki sushi, and also features just one or two fillings .

The fillings for hosomaki could be salmon, cucumber or crab.

Some of the popular examples of hosomaki are the tuna roll and cucumber roll.

Hosomaki is eaten with chopsticks, and is often dipped in a sauce.

What is uramaki?

‘Ura’ translates to mean back and “maki” means roll.

Uramaki is made up of the same basic components as other popular types of sushi rolls, however the ingredients are arranged differently.

Unlike the other types of maki, the rice in uramaki is rolled around the other ingredients.

The seaweed in uramaki can be found just between the rice and fillings. 

Uramaki is also known as inside-out sushi and it is common in the United States.

A very popular variety of uramaki is the California roll.

The fillings for uramaki may include cucumber, avocado, shrimp, crab meat, or grilled eel, and it is often topped with sesame seeds.

What is maki?

Maki rolls are a broad group of sushi made with medium-grained rice, toasted seaweed, and also a variety fillings including raw or cooked seafood and vegetables. 

The rice for sushi is prepared in vinegar, it also has a sticky texture that holds its shape when molded. 

Maki is made using a bamboo mat, a sheet of nori onto the mat while the rice and fillings are placed on the nori.  

These ingredient are first rolled into long cylinders they are sliced into more bite sized pieces. 

There are many different types of maki sushi that are constructed in a variety of ways using different ingredients.

Maki sushi may also range in thickness from thin to thick.

Futomaki, which means “fat roll,” is almost similar to hosomaki but it is larger and made with more fillings.  

Kappa Maki is made with seaweed, rice, and a cucumber filling, tekka Maki is made with raw tuna. 

Temaki is a sushi roll that is shaped into a cone, they are rolled by hand and not with a bamboo mat.

These sushi rolls are often eaten together with a sauce.


Hosomaki are small maki rolls made using only a small quantity of  sushi rice together with one filling and wrapped with a small sheet of nori.

In uramaki, the nori, filling, and rice are rolled up in such a way that the rice faces outside. 

For hosomaki, the nori sheet is placed on a bamboo mat, then rice and the fillings are added, and then rolled, while in uramaki, the nori sheet is flipped after the the rice is spread over it, and the fillings are added to the other side before the mat is rolled.