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Niigata Rice - No.1 Rice in Japan -


Niigata Rice is recognized as the top brand of rice by Japanese.

In Japan, Niigata prefecture is famous as a production area of superior quality rice and Japanese Sake.

Superb flavor, appetizing appearance, reliable quality…
Niigata rice excels on all fronts, and is perennially supported by many Japanese as the nation’s top brand.
Niigata Rice, nurtured under combination of a rich natural environment and finely-honed technical skills, truly synonymous with Japanese rice.

There are good reasons behind the delicious flavor of Niigata Rice.

Premiere grade rice is nurtured in paddy fields by an abundance of pure-flowing snowmelt from the mountains. The home of Niigata Rice enjoys the best possible natural conditions for rice-growing throughout all four seasons.

Winter: Snowmelt rich in nourishment irrigates the paddy fields.
Niigata Prefecture, setting for Yasunari Kawabata’s legendary novel “Snow Country”, is famed as one of Japan’s areas of snowfall. The winter months see accumulations of several meters in mountainous zones, transforming the landscape white as far as the eye can see. The exquisite snowfields are breathtakingly immense ad silent as they await the buds and shoots of spring. When the season of renewal does arrive at last, the snow is gradually transformed into snowmelt heavily laden with leaf mold nutrients from fallen leaves in the mountains. This crystal-clear, nutrient-packed water flows downstream to the paddy fields, where it provides precious irrigation across the entire Echigo Plain during rice-planting season.

Spring: Fertile soil, steadily built up over the passage of time.
After the long winter, as if delighting in the long-awaited return of spring, cherry trees come into full bloom throughout the rural landscape of this region. Around the time that trees and plants awaken from their winter slumber all at once, the snowmelt from the mountains begins its journey downstream. Carrying these crystal-line waters from the mountains to eventually empty into the Sea of Japan are two mighty rivers – the Shinano and the Agano. Over the centuries, these grand bodies of water have helped nurture the fertile grounds in this part of Japan. With the clayish soil of the expansive plains absorbing and capturing the nutrients in the snowmelt, it is possible to grow excellent rice without heavy reliance on chemical fertilizers. Deep mountains, heavy snow fall, large rivers, and rich ground. With all environmental, factors key in growing top-caliber rice on board, the fine flavor of Niigata Koshihikari rice comes about as a natural matter of course.

Summer: Niigata prefecture offers optimal climate conditions for rice growing.
The season of endless blue skies dotted with exquisite white cloud formations, and the brilliant green hues of mountains alive with energy. Niigata is a region of wide temperature swings, with the summer sun beating down during the day and chill setting in at night. Rice plants are able to soak up ample sunlight and then leisurely store and process the nutrients and fine flavor in the cool that sets in after dark. The weather during the vital span from the time the ears or rice emerge through to their harvest integrally impacts the final flavor of the crop. The three pivotal climate conditions for growing delicious-tasting rice are: (1) Long hours of sunlight; (2) An average temperature of around 24.5℃; and (3) Wide temperature differences between day and night. Niigata prefecture satisfies all of these criteria. Niigata rice benefits from such ideal natural blessings during the key months for rice cultivation. Each and every grain is tenderly nurtured and readied in preparation for harvest day.

Autumn: The unbridled passion of farmers supports the quality of rice.
With the arrival of autumn, trees in the mountains take on a rich range of brilliant reds and yellows, exuding the radiant shades of the season. In the paddy fields, the golden heads of rice plants sway in the breeze like waves on the sea, in a dynamic scene of color and motion stretching far into the distance. This truly archetypal image of Japan remains totally unchanged from ancient times. Niigata prefecture, No.1 in Japan in both rice planting area and crop yield (2015 crop), is Japan’s premium rice-growing region in both name and reality. Regardless of how blessed the environment, however, without superior human skills and devotion built up over the years, high-quality rice could never be produced. Taking this to heart, all rice farmers in Niigata prefecture toil at their trade day in and day out, throughout the year. Constantly aiming to enhance the quality, they push diligently forward with research to further raise their already finely-honed skills. Their pursuit is that of greater flavor, reduced use of agrochemicals and chemical fertilizers out of consideration for safety and the environment, and other developments. The passion and pride of everyone involved in the production of rice is an indispensable factor in keeping Niigata No.1 rice-growing region.

Specially Cultivated Agricultural Area

Rice is the heart of Japanese cuisine.

“Washoku” the traditional dietary culture of the Japanese people, has been inscribed on UNESCO’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.The single greatest trait that defines Japanese cuisine is the treatment of rice as the main staple.To the Japanese people, rice is their single most cherished food.The rich selections of foodstuffs from Niigata, furthermore, lend themselves as delicious ingredients to all types of Japanese cooking.At the core of this formula, of course, will be found Niigata Rice – the acknowledged pinnacle of Japanese rice.

How to cook Niigata Rice(PDF   617 KB)

Data about the Niigata rice