Japanese rice might be quite different from the rice from your home country. This short grain, soft, sticky rice is the main crop in Japan and has been cultivated for over 2000 years. Most rice fields are planted and harvested by machine in early June and harvested in the fall.
Most rice is sold as hakumai, or white rice, in which the brown outer grain has been polished away. This is the rice used for sushi, rice balls, and everyday meal rice. The unpolished, brown rice is called genmai. Another type of popular rice is mochi rice, which is used for rice cakes and sekihan (red azuki bean rice). Other popular, processed rice products in Japan include rice vinegar, rice flour, and rice wine. The rice bran, komenuka, which is the part that is stripped to make white rice, is often used to make special vegetable pickles called nukazuke. Rice is a major part of Japan’s culture, so enjoy all the variety of dishes!