What is Japonica Rice, A Closer Look at Asian Rice Variety

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By Ashley Woodward • Last Updated: February 16, 2023

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What is Japonica Rice

Hi There! Rounder, thicker, and stickier, Japonica rice stands out among the other grains. But what is Japonica rice and how to cook it? Find out in this new post!

The Asian Roots

Japonica rice grows in elevated regions of South Asia and on dry fields of East Asia. There are three subgroups of this rice type, which include temperate Japonica, tropical Japonica and aromatic Japonica.

Temperate Japonica grows in East Asia, while the tropical kind is grown in Indonesia and Madagascar.

In general, Japonica rice requires cooler climate and, depending on the weather of the region, it can be cultivated in different forms.

Uruchimai as Japanese call it, Japonica rice has a lot of uses from sushi, sake, and even desserts like mochi. You can find out more about the importance of rice in Japanese culture from the previous post.

Japonica vs Indica Rice

japonica vs indica

Right after Japonica comes the second major Asian rice variety, Indica rice. These two rice varieties are the complete opposites of each other.

While Japonica rice features round and thick grains, the Indica rice has longer and thinner grains. Japonica rice grains are also harder than those of Indica rice.

Sticky Rice

However, both rice varieties bring unique tastes and turn dishes into real specialties. Depending on the type of dish you’re preparing, you may be looking for sticky or non-sticky rice.

When it comes to these two varieties, Japonica rice is the stickier one, as it contains more amylopectin, whereas Indica rice is richer in amylose and thus far less sticky.

You can even see the difference between these two varieties in their plant form, as the plants of Indica rice are much longer.

While the differences in plant size may not be that important if you’re not planning to cultivate this type or rice, it is important to know the differences in terms of taste and texture in order to prepare delicious dishes!

Health Values

Japonica rice has a very favorable nutritional value, which is why it is one of the favorite choices among fitness gurus and athletes. You can read more about what is the best rice for body building. This type of rice is perfect for those who want to maintain good physical health or get their body in shape.

The reason why Japonica rice is such a common ingredient in healthy diets is because it is a low calorie and low fat rice variety.

If you were to prepare 100 grams of pure Japonica rice, you will have 350 calories on your plate. Out of those 100 grams, 6.5 grams are pure protein our body needs in order to function properly.

Therefore, Japonica rice is the perfect choice of rice to combine with lean meat such as chicken breasts for a delicious meal high in protein and other essential fibers.

How to Cook Japonica Rice in a Rice Cooker

black japonica rice

Preparing Japonica rice is very simple. It is the same like any other rice grains. The preparation process may vary if you are using other types such as brown rice, black rice, red rice and wild rice.

However, when it comes to preparing Japonica in general, there’s nothing too difficult about it, especially if you are using a rice cooker.

Rice is very flexible and versatile that it can be the main dish, or part of the dish. It all depends on how you want it.

Follow these step by step process on how to cook black Japonica rice:

  1. First, place the rice in a bowl to rinse it under water. It is important to rinse your rice well, using circular hand movements while pouring water into the bowl. Even though some people rinse their rice three times, twice is just enough.
  2. Use a cooking spray or add a bit of vegetable oil to the rice cooker bowl since the black Japonica rice is stickier. Once the bowl is coated and ready, pour the rice in and add the correct amount of water. Check out what is the proper rice to water ratio from our previous blog.
  3. Make sure all grains are covered with water and there’s none of them left on the walls of the bowl above the water level. Then close your rice cooker and set it to cook on regular. If your cooker has the Brown Rice cycle, you may select that one as well.
  4. When the rice ready, fluff it with a spoon, preferably a wooden one, and serve it with the rest of your dish!

Watch this video tutorial on how to cook black Japonica rice in a rice cooker


If you’re looking for healthy ingredients to include in your diet, Japonica rice is one of the best choices. It is rich in protein and important fibers while being low in fat and calories.

Therefore, in terms of nutritional values, this rice variety is among the top three choices for healthy diets. Besides being extremely beneficial for one’s health, Japonica rice is also very delicious, featuring a unique taste with slightly stickier and chewier texture.

If you have any stories to share related to Japonica rice, we would be glad to read them below!

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