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Japanese Rice




Photo (c) Setsuko Yoshizuka

About Japanese Rice:

Although rice consumption in Japanese households is declining, rice is still popular and is a very important food in Japan. It's cultivated all over the country. Japanese people even call each meal "gohan (cooked rice)", such as "asa (morning)-gohan" for breakfast. A bowl of rice is included in most of Japanese meals.

Cultural Aspects:

Many Shinto ceremonies and festivals involve rice growing and rice products. Raw rice, sake, and mochi rice cakes are typical offerings in shrines. Japanese people believe that it's important not to waste rice. Leaving pieces of rice in a bowl is often considered impolite.


Japanese rice is short grain rice. It gets slightly sticky when it's cooked. There is a kind of rice called mochigome (glutinous rice). It's the stickiest rice and is used to make mochi rice cakes, sweet rice balls, and so on.

Rice Uses:

  • Rice Balls (onigiri) - hand shaped round or triangular balls of steamed rice. It's easy to eat and is often taken for picnic or lunch. There are different kinds of fillings.
  • Rice Bowls (donburi) - steamed plain rice is served in a large bowl and topped with various ingredients.
  • O-kayu - rice porridge
  • O-chazuke - hot water or green tea is poured over steamed plain rice with various toppings.
  • Freezing Steamed Rice:

    Freezing steamed rice is a good way to preserve its flavor. Wrap small portions of cooled, steamed rice with plastic wrap and flatten them. Then, put the packages in the freezer. They can be kept in the freezer up to a month for the best flavor. Heat it up in the microwave when you need rice.
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