- Autumn is the season for new rice with over 300 varieties!
- Ways of cooking rice across the ages. Rice cookers just keep getting better and better.
Rice is the staple of the Japanese diet and is loved by everyone!
Rice has been grown in Japan since the Jomon era (approximately 3000 years ago). The Japanese climate is perfect for growing rice with its rainy season at the start of summer followed by the high temperatures of summer. Rice has been eaten as the staple grain in Japan since long, long ago and Japan is currently 95% self-sufficient in terms of rice production. Rice makes a perfect complement to all kinds of dishes. In the hotels and traditional inns of Japan it can be enjoyed on it’s own or combined with a variety of dishes and foods, such as natto, grilled fish, miso soup, and nori (seaweed).
Autumn is the season for new rice with over 300 varieties!
The varieties of Japanese rice have been improved over the years with over 300 currently in production. Koshihikari, akitakomachi, and hitomebore are among the well-known varieties. In particular, koshihikari harvested in Uonuma has been ranked “Special A” for 25 years running according to the six assessment criteria used by the Japan Grain Inspection Association (appearance, aroma, flavor, stickiness, firmness, overall quality). Uonuma City, located in Niigata Prefecture, lies in a basin, which means it experiences large fluctuations between daytime and nighttime temperatures. The average temperature here during the time of year the rice ripens is the optimal temperature of 24ºC. Because the rice paddies are irrigated with snowmelt, the water has a good mineral content. All of these conditions combine to make Uonuma an ideal environment for rice production. Autumn is the season for new rice, so be sure to enjoy it at it’s finest during this season.
Ways of cooking rice across the ages. Rice cookers just keep getting better and better.
In the days before electric rice cookers, rice was cooked in earthenware pots, a process that involved time and labor. In these days of electric rice cookers, one can even find rice cookers that cook it just as deliciously as an earthenware pot. Rice cookers suitable for overseas use are also sold in electronics shops in Japan and many tourists buy them as souvenirs. For more detail, be sure to ask the sales staff in the electronics stores. You just might be able to serve rice, Japanese style, to your family back home!