The Essence of Japanese Rice: Tradition and Taste

The Essence of Japanese Rice: Tradition and Taste

Japan, a country famous for its exquisite cuisine and unique culture, has an agricultural treasure: Japanese rice. In Japan, rice is more than just a staple food, it is a cultural symbol and the centrepiece of countless delicious dishes. Today, we will take you to understand the charm of Japanese rice.

Rice in Japanese Culture: A Sacred Symbol

Since ancient times, the Japanese have regarded rice as a sacred food and considered it a gift from the gods. Whether it is traditional ご飯 (Gohan, Rice), すし(Sushi), おにぎり(Onigiri, Rice Ball)or 弁当 (Bento, Box Meal),rice is an indispensable protagonist. Every bowl of white rice, both a tribute to nature and labour, and a yearning for a better life. In Japanese families, a hearty Japanese breakfast usually includes a bowl of hot white rice with miso soup, grilled fish and pickled fish.

Therefore, rice occupies a central position in Japanese eating habits, and it is inseparable from almost every meal. In addition to being a staple food, Japanese rice plays an important role in many traditional festivals and ceremonies. For example, Inari Shrines in Japan often offer rice and rice cakes to pray for good harvests and agriculture. Rice is also often used as sacrifices or gifts on occasions such as weddings, celebrations, and sacrifices, symbolising blessings and peace.

When it comes to Japanese rice, people are often stuck in the dilemma of choosing because there are so many tempting options. Let’s explore these six eye-catching rice varieties: Koshihikari, Nanatsuboshi, Akitakomachi, Hitomebore, Tsuyahime, and Yukiwakamaru. Each type of rice has its own unique flavour and texture, suitable for different cooking methods and uses. Whether you're looking for something soft and sweet or sticky, these rices will satisfy your taste buds. Let’s start this taste journey together and discover your favourite rice!

Koshihikari: Japan’S Most Produced Rice

Koshihikari rice is a short-grain rice developed in Japan after World War II. It is also the rice variety with the highest yield in Japan and originated in Niigata and Fukui prefectures. Rice was introduced to Japan through the Yangtze River basin in China about 2,000 to 3,000 years ago. Since then, the Japanese have grown and loved this grain. Japan began serious experiments with rice hybridisation in 1921. Hundreds of rice varieties have been developed to help combat certain types of plant diseases. One of the new varieties developed after World War II was Koshihikari rice. Koshihikari rice itself has a rich flavour and good stickiness and hardness. Whether served hot or cold, Koshihikari rice retains its consistent sticky sweetness. Even adding additional seasonings, such as seaweed or vinegar required for sushi, does not change the sweetness of Koshihikari. It can be eaten with some fried foods such as fried pork chops or fried chicken, which will have more flavour, but the important thing is that because this rice is very sticky, it is not suitable for fried rice.

 

Kohnan Shokuryo Niigata Produced Koshihikari Japanese Rice 5kg

Kohnan Shokuryo Niigata Produced Koshihikari Japanese Rice 10kg

Kohnan Shokuryo Toyama Produced Koshihikari Japanese Rice 5kg

Kohnan Shokuryo Toyama Produced Koshihikari Japanese Rice 10kg

Hitomebore: The Charm of Japanese Short-Grain

Japanese Rice Hitomebore rice is a short-grain Japanese rice variety developed from the Koshihikari variety and cultivated in Miyagi Prefecture. It has larger grains than Koshihikari and is stickier. Its name means "love at first sight" in Japanese, and it is the second most popular rice in Japan due to its frequent use in sushi or Japanese curry. Not only does this rice have a "Koshihikari" taste, it is also regarded as a representative of Iwate Prefecture's rice production. The taste also has a good balance between different palatability properties. The cooked rice is soft and chewy. Not only does it have strong fragrance and viscosity, but you can also feel the elasticity of the particles. In general, Hitomebore rice has an excellent overall balance of stickiness, sweetness, deliciousness, aroma, and lustre, and goes well with any cuisine. It has a beautiful lustre and is particularly suitable for Japanese dishes such as "焼き魚yaki-zakana (grilled fish) "and "刺身sashimi (raw fish)".

Kohnan Shokuryo Miyagi Produced Hitomebore Japanese Rice 5kg

Kohnan Shokuryo Miyagi Produced Hitomebore Japanese Rice 10kg

Akitakomachi: The Essence of Japanese Rice

Akitakomachi rice is a high-quality rice variety grown in Akita Prefecture, Japan. The rice is named after Ono Komachi, a poet from the Heian period (794 – 1185) and one of the three most beautiful women in the world. This rice has a shiny, clear appearance and not only has the sweetness and flavour of Koshihikari, but also has a good balance of umami, sweetness and stickiness. Even brown rice, semi-polished rice, and germinated brown rice are sticky and taste good. It has a strong aroma after cooking and can be eaten not only cooked but also delicious when eaten cold, making it perfect for rice boxes and rice balls.

Kohnan Shokuryo Akita Produced Akitakomachi Japanese Rice 5kg

Kohnan Shokuryo Akita Produced Akitakomachi Japanese Rice 10kg

Nanatsushi: Japanese Rice Tradition Meets Modernity

Nanatsuboshi rice is a type of rice grown mainly in Hokkaido. It was developed to withstand the cold and adapt to Hokkaido's climate. Just like there are beautiful stars in Hokkaido, it was named because people longed for it to shine like the "Big Dipper". Nanatsushi rice is said to have a good overall balance in whiteness, gloss, taste, stickiness, hardness, and aroma. Each grain is elastic and light, perfect for pairing with sushi rice. In addition, like Akitakomachi rice, it does not lose its flavour even if it is cooled, making it perfect for bento boxes and rice balls, and Nanatsuboshi rice has been rated the highest "Special A" in rice evaluation items for 14 consecutive years.

Kohnan Shokuryo Hokkaido Produced Nanatsuboshi Japanese Rice 5kg

Tsuyahimeのつや姫の: Crystal Delicious Japanese Rice

One of the most highly regarded rice varieties to emerge in recent years, Tsuyahime was developed and cultivated in Yamagata Prefecture. The name Tsuyahime (つや姫) means brave princess and is inspired by a legendary Japanese princess known for her bravery and spirit. After 10 years of development, the Yamagata Prefectural Government hopes that Tsuyahime rice can become a representative Japanese brand like Koshihikari rice. The signature feature of Tsuyahime rice is that its grains remain white and shiny even when they are not polished. Its flavour is described as pure and delicious, with a velvety mouthfeel due to its unique uniformly sized particles.

Yamagata Produced Tsuyahime Japanese Rice 5kg

 

Yukiwakamaru雪若丸はどんな: The Shining Pearl Of Japanese Rice

The name refers to the masculine appearance of Yukiwakamaru's tough grains and rice, as well as its striking white and glossy appearance, which is as beautiful as snow. Additionally, resembling Tsuyahime in its white and shiny characteristics, it is a rice born next to Tsuyahime in Yamagata Prefecture, making it very suitable to be associated with the younger brother. The name of Tsuyahime has been decided. "Yukiwakamaru" from Yamagata Prefecture is a new variety that took 10 years to cultivate. The rice is tough and has large grains. Like its sister "Tsuyahime", each grain is firm and shiny, and is popular for its balanced flavour. Yukiwakamaru is characterised by its chewy texture. However, it lacks sweetness and stickiness, so eating it with just white rice like Tsuyahime may be a little unsatisfying. Nonetheless, eating rice gives a feeling of satisfaction and fullness and goes well with any type of dish. Tsuyahime has a strong flavour and is often used as a complement to dishes, while Yukiwakamaru is an auxiliary ingredient that brings out the flavour of the dish. It also pairs well with spicy dishes such as curry, rice bowls, and paella, and is a type of rice that can be enjoyed as a rice ball because of its texture.

Yamagata Produced Tsuyahime Japanese Rice 5kg

 

Japanese rice is not only a food, but also a cultural symbol. Every bowl of rice contains the Japanese's reverence for nature and gratitude for the harvest. On the Japanese dining table, rice carries the warmth and emotion of family and is a symbol of family reunion. Let us taste the deliciousness of rice, feel the culture and tradition contained in it, and explore the mysteries of Japanese food together.