Secrets behind delicious Japanese rice: climate, people and technology.
High quality rice is grown throughout Japan.
Rice is a crop that is essential to the Japanese people. Rice-growing began in Japan about 2500 years ago. Japan is located in a temperate zone, blessed with quality water and sunshine and four distinct seasons: all favorable conditions for rice cultivation. The technology to make the most of this environment has progressed thanks to human effort.
Presently, all over Japan, rice plants in paddies are neatly planted at equal intervals. Such views form part of the distinctive beauty of the rural Japanese landscape.
Rice fields in the countryside.
Strict quality control.
For rice growing, farmers have developed cultivation methods that take advantage of Japan’s rich natural conditions. At the same time, by using weather information and technology such as selective breeding, they have also acquired production techniques that are not easily influenced by external factors. Harvested rice is threshed and kept in cool storage warehouses below 15°C (59°F). Then, it is shipped in small quantities to meet consumers’ needs. Thus, people can always expect fresh rice to be available in stores.
In a cool storage warehouse, temperature can be maintained at below 15°C (59°F), even in the summer.
More than 300 varieties create a wealth of choice.
Japan cultivates an incredible number of rice varieties. National research centers and prefectural experimental stations are producing rice with varying taste by assisting in the development of varieties that suit regional climate, soil and usage. Some varieties are resistant to disease, pests and weather, and others differ in taste, fragrance and texture.
Fluffy cooked rice is a meal on its own.
Naturally, it also complements various cuisines.
The rice harvested in Japan is nearly all Japonica rice, which features a natural sweetness, mild fragrance and plump moistness. Being simple and mild, it makes a tasty food on its own and also complements a variety of side dishes. Rice plays a pivotal role in a healthy Japanese diet. Its major constituent is the carbohydrate, but it also contains a good balance of protein, iron, vitamins such as B1 and E, and dietary fiber.
“Rice is the source of long life and health!”
The basic Japanese meal consisting of rice combined with vegetables, soybeans and fish makes Japan a world leader in life expectancy.
(Director and Professor, Mukogawa Women's University Institute for World Health Development ,Japan and Emeritus Professor, Kyoto University, Japan)