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Instant Rice Production at All-Time High in Japan

Instant rice is becoming more popular in Japan on the back of demand from the elderly and single-person households.
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Rice in Small Amounts Selling Well in Japan (News)

Tokyo, Feb. 7 (Jiji Press)—The marketing strategy of selling rice in small volumes has recently been successful in Japan on the back of a rise in the number of one-person households and small families. Five-kilogram packages of rice, which used to be the main size, are unpopular among these households because they are too large and expensive for them. To satisfy low-volume needs, some compan…
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“Onigiri” Rice Balls: Kings of the Convenience StoreRichard Medhurst

Japan is known for its fine cuisine and Michelin-starred restaurants. For many visitors, however, fond memories are associated with more humble and accessible fare—a bowl of ramen at a dimly lit yatai food stall, colorful plates of sushi revolving around a conveyor-belt restaurant, or the cheap and easy sustenance of a convenience store breakfast. Onigiri rice balls are perhaps the most represe…
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Sake Brands from Kyūshū Win Top Two Prizes in Paris Contest (News)

Paris, Oct. 8 (Jiji Press)—Sake brands from the Kyūshū southwestern Japan region finished first and second at a contest in Paris, according to the contest results announced Sunday. At the Kura Master contest, Shichida Junmai Ginjō Omachi 50 from Tenzan Sake Brewery Co. of Saga Prefecture was awarded the top prize, Prix du president. "Hananoka Ōka" from Hananoka Shuzō Co. of Kumamoto Prefectu…
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EU to Relax Import Restrictions on Japanese Food (News)

Brussels, Sept. 26 (Jiji Press)—The European Union plans to ease its import restrictions imposed on Japanese foodstuffs following the 2011 nuclear accident in Fukushima Prefecture, informed sources said Tuesday. The EU plans to exempt rice produced in Fukushima and some other items from a total of 10 prefectures from extra checks for radioactive contamination, the sources said. A final deci…
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Wrap Your Lunch: Reinventing the Humble Rice Ball with “Onigirazu”James Singleton

The onigiri (rice ball) is one of Japanese cuisine’s oldest traditions. But a new interpretation known as onigirazu is remaking the image of the centuries-old staple snack and garnering an increasing amount of lunchtime attention. Onigirazu is a hearty dish that is closer to a rice sandwich than a rice ball. It first began to grab attention online at popular cooking sites and with food bloggers…
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Yamadanishiki Reigns Supreme Among Sake-Brewing Rice Varieties

Japan’s sake brewers use more than 100 varieties of rice, but their favorite by far is Yamadanishiki. Here is a look at their reasons.
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An Agricultural Wonder: Japan’s Vanishing Terraced Rice Fields (Photos)Kit Takenaga (Photographer)

Terraced rice fields, constructed and refined by farmers over centuries, were once a common sight on Japan’s hillsides. Today, though, they are disappearing from the landscape. These photographs document the natural, agricultural, and cultural heritage of the tanada.
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What Japan’s Farmers Really Need Is FreedomAsakawa Yoshihiro

While welcoming Prime Minister Abe’s decision for Japan to participate in the TPP free trade talks, agricultural journalist Asakawa Yoshihiro takes issue with the Abe administration’s farming policy, calling for bold moves to free Japan’s farmers and food producers.
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The Road to Japan’s Top Rice

A number of new varieties of rice are posing a formidable challenge to the established, high-grade Koshihikari brand. Prominent among them are the newcomers from Hokkaidō. How was a region unsuited to rice cultivation able to develop what may become the finest rice in the land?
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