What is Japanese Rice?

What is Japanese Rice?

Rice as in indispensable ingredient in Japanese cuisine

Beautifully polished white rice is used for making cooked rice with a glossy appearance and pillowy texture. The rice cultivated in Japan is characterized by its sweetness, vibrancy, aroma and exquisite flavor. In Japanese, cooked rice is called “gohan,” but the same word is also used to refer to the entire meal. This shows how the Japanese view rice as an indispensably important ingredient which serves as the cornerstone of their diet.

Japanese cuisine

How is cooked rice incorporated into Japanese cuisine?

White rice is intimately connected with Japanese food culture. For example, in Japanese cooking, the basic essentials of any meal are said to be a soup, rice and three side dishes. The soup and three side dishes are paired with a staple diet of rice to provide a well-balanced source of essential energy and nutrition for keeping the body healthy, functioning and growing.

Japanese food culture
Japanese food culture

1Staple food

Supplies carbohydrates as a source of energy. For Japanese cuisine, rice is fundamental.

2Three side dishes

Comprised of one main and two side dishes. The sides provide a delicious complement to the staple food. Adds nutrients lacking from the staple food and soup alone.


Provides liquid replenishment. For Japanese cuisine, miso soup is fundamental.

Discover the uniquely flavorful experience of rice in Japan!

Because rice is a staple element of Japanese cuisine, cooked rice and side dishes are commonly eaten together with the main dish - a custom which has given rise to a distinctively Japanese rice-based cuisine (cooked rice cuisine). Cooked rice is also delicious when cold and is eaten this way as part of Japanese-style lunch boxes, called "bento," and rice balls, called "onigiri." Japanese cuisine is famous the world over for the wonderful variety and creativity it puts into the eating of cooked rice. If ever you have the opportunity to come to Japan, make sure to try out all the uniquely flavorful rice experiences that Japanese cuisine has to offer!

Make delicious Japanese rice at home!

You too can eat delicious Japanese rice at home once you have mastered the proper method of cooking rice. In order to produce delicious, aromatic cooked rice, you will need to use a heavy iron pot with a lid and soft mineral water. To bring out the flavor, the rice must be sufficiently polished and be soaked in water until it takes on a cloudy white appearance. It must then be carefully cooked over medium to low heat and, finally, allowed to sit for ten minutes. Then, when you open the lid of your iron pot, you will be greeted by sweetly fragrant steam wafting off the rice and enveloping you in happiness.