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Autumn Harvest Is Here! 5 Select, Delicious Name-Brand Japanese Rice

Rice is the staple for Japanese people, and it is one of the most representative foods of Japan. It is autumn now and harvest season is here, with first crops of this year’s rice arriving at stores in abundance. However many Japanese people may feel lost in deciding which rice to buy.

The word “Japanese rice” refers to a variety of rice, and there are reportedly more than 500 breeds today. Some of them have been marketed as name-brand rice, and they are very popular products domestically, as they have distinctive delicious tastes.

Among them, this time we would like to introduce several kinds of leading name-brand rice that are particularly popular.

Photo by flickr


1. Koshihikari

Main Area of Production: Nationwide (Product from Uonuma, Niigata Prefecture is particularly famous.)
Characteristics: It has strong taste and strong stickiness.

Photo by flickr

This is the most popular rice among the representative rice breeds in Japan. Crops are grown across Japan; however Koshihikari produced in Uonuma, Niigata Prefecture is particularly highly valued. This breed allows people to feel deliciousness and aroma of rice strongly, and its popularity has been stable over the years.


2. Akitakomachi

Main Area of Production: Akita Prefecture
Characteristics: It has nice aroma and strong stickiness, but tastes light and is easy to eat.

Photo by flickr

This name-brand rice was first developed in 1984, and it has a relatively long history. It is on the side of sweet and sticky, but very popular since it goes well with a wide variety of side dishes with its gentle taste.


3. Yumepirika

Main Area of Production: Hokkaido
Characteristics: Moderately sweet and sticky, and it is delicious even when eaten cold.

Writer’s Photo

Writer’s Photo

Cooked rice from this breed is slightly soft, but every time you chew on a grain, sweetness spreads in your mouth. This rice looks beautiful when it is done cooking  and its beauty has been widely acknowledged, too.


4. Nanatsuboshi

Main Area of Production: Hokkaido
Characteristics: With an exquisite balance of sweetness, stickiness, and firmness, it goes well with any type of side dishes.

Writer’s Photo

Writer’s Photo

This rice is known as the breed with highest production volume in Hokkaido. Both sweetness and stickiness are mild, and its aftertaste is also characteristically light.


5. Tsuyahime

Main Area of Production: Yamagata Prefecture
Characteristics: Grain is larger, and it is sweet and silky.

Writer’s Photo

Writer’s Photo

This rice was born in 2010, after ten years of research and development. As the name “tsuya (luster)” indicates, the grain looks glossy when it is cooked. It has moderate firmness and its chewiness is pleasing.


We have introduced leading name-brand rice breeds in Japan. With its national love of rice, Japan has many other rice breeds than what is introduced in the above. We would like you to try various breeds, enjoy their respective tastes and compare them. In addition, we would like you to take a look at Japanese rice cookers that cook the rice perfectly while bringing out their taste to the fullest or even more.

Related Articles:
Traditional Japanese Osekihan: Happy Rice Dish for Celebratory Days
Rice Paddy Art: Don’t Miss Japan’s Otherworldly Art!

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About the author

I'm interested in general in all things related to culture and fine arts with a focus on movies, art, and design. I hope to introduce to many people all the different sides to Japan in regards to Japanese culture.

View all articles by KAWATA