Rice Sommelier's Choice: How to choose the proper Japanese rice for your taste


rice display

White rice, brown rice, Kohishikari—there are many Japanese rice options on the market today. How do you know which one to choose? This guide will help you find the perfect variety for your palate. We will discuss the different types of Japanese rice available and how to select the right one for any dish. We'll also provide tips on preparing and cooking Japanese-style rice so that you can enjoy its delicious flavor at home!


Why should we use different types of rice for different dishes? 


Japanese rice is short-grain rice, which is different from other types of rice. Whenever making a Japanese rice dish, it is always best to stick with short-grain rice to preserve the intended flavor and balance. There are wide varieties of Japanese rice, each with its unique flavor and texture. The most popular varieties include Koshihikari, Akitakomachi, and Hitomebore.

When choosing a brand of Japanese rice, it is essential to read the labels carefully to ensure that the rice is suited for the dish you are preparing. For example, sushi and onigiri require different types of rice. Once you know which brands and varieties of Japanese rice go best with which dishes, you will be able to enjoy the world of Japanese cuisine more profoundly.


Choosing the Right Rice for Popular Japanese Rice Dishes

Onigiri (Rice Ball)

rice ball

Onigiri is a snack/meal made with Japanese-style rice formed into a ball or triangle shape and filled with tuna, salmon, or pickled vegetables.

When making onigiri, it is essential to use Japanese-style rice that is short-grain and sticky. This rice will hold together well and have the right texture for onigiri. Hokkaido Yumepirika's sweetness and firm bite provide the perfect base for a successful onigiri!



sushi rolls

Sushi is a Japanese dish with vinegar-seasoned rice and fillings such as fish, vegetables, and eggs.

The rice used for sushi must be short-grain and sticky so that it will adhere to the fillings. Japanese-style rice that has been polished is often used for sushi because it has a higher starch content and is less likely to stick together. Akita Akitakomachi is one of the best brands to use for sushi. We consider Akita a balanced grain with a perfect balance of sweetness, stickiness, and chewiness.


Japanese Pickles, Natto, etc.

japanese side dishes

Japanese-style rice is often eaten as an accompaniment to Japanese pickles, natto, and other savory side dishes. In this case, you must use a variety of sweet rice that is not too sticky so that it will not clump together.

Yamagata Tsuyahime is a perfect candidate for your Japanese-style tapas nights, as it offers an ideal sweetness, umami, and a decent gloss. In addition, you can also use Yamagata for fried rice and pilafs.


Meat Dishes (steak, pork cutlet, etc.)

japanese main dish

Several different Japanese rice varieties go well with traditional meat dishes. For example, Koshihikari is a versatile Japanese rice used for steak, pork cutlet, or other grilled meat dishes. However, even among Koshihikari, there are several varieties, each with its distinct features and recommended uses.


Niigata Koshihikari

Also known as the most famous rice brand in Japan, Niigata Koshihikari has a deep fragrance and elegant and glossy grain that goes well with rich meat dishes such as steak or pork cutlets.


Toyama Tenkomori

Toyama Tenkomori is a Japanese rice with a unique feature: it is slightly sticky while maintaining a firm texture. As a result, it's perfect for meat dishes that are grilled or pan-fried. Its rich fragrance pairs well with a variety of meat dishes.


Toyama Koshihikari

This variety of Koshihikari is produced in Nyuzen Town, Toyama Prefecture, giving it a unique taste characteristic of the local landscape. Like other Koshihikari varieties, it has a perfectly balanced stickiness, gloss, and overall grain structure. Try it with your favorite Japanese meat dish to experience the flavor yourself!


Hyogo Koshihikari

Hyogo Koshihikari is known for its delicious taste and tenderness, but what makes this rice special? The answer may be in how it's grown. This carefully cultivated variety of brown Japanese rice benefits from a unique farming technique that helps protect native creatures such as frogs or loaches who feed on grains left out overnight! The tender grains complement any Japanese beef, chicken or pork dish delicately.


Fried Rice

fried rice

When making fried rice dishes, Koshihibuki is your go-to variety. Koshihibuki is a type of rice that has been specially grown and processed to maintain its shape. As a result, it's less sticky, making dishes with light textures like chazuke (rice cooked in a dashi broth or green tea) or fried noodles easier on your stomach! 

Koshiihikari can be great for these dishes if you don't want too much sweetness from other ingredients, such as vegetables. However, we recommend using our brand when possible. There truly isn't any comparison-it that takes fried rice dishes to the next level!


Rice for any occasion


Let's say you're new to the world of Japanese rice and are interested in buying one rice variety for all your culinary adventures. In that case, you can stock up on one of these rice varieties that is versatile enough for any dish:


Hokkaido Nanatsuboshi

This light and crisp-flavored variety is a great staple to enjoy with your favorite Japanese meals. Thanks to its soft texture and mild taste, Hokkaido Nanatsuboshi is one of the almighty rice grains that bring out the flavor in any dish, even the cold ones!


Minamiuonuma Koshihikari

Considered to be a luxury Kohishikari variety, Minamiuonuma is praised for its large and clear grains. When prepared, it has just the perfect bite, balanced by a deep sweetness that engulfs the senses. Enjoy the perfection of Minamiuonuma Kohishikari grains with any meal!


Enjoy Japanese Rice Like a Rice Sommelier

rice bags

Like wine, there are different types of rice, and each style has its unique flavor profile. Not sure which rice is the one for you? At the rice factory NEW YORK, we have a “rice sommelier” who can help you choose the perfect rice for your meal. Contact us, and we would be happy to provide you with recommendations if you have any questions or doubts.