Japonica Rice
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Japonica Rice is the term for one of the broad classifications of Rice. Indica Rice is the other major classification. Japonica Rice is derived from Asian Rice and is also the ancestor of many of the more commonly found types of Japonica Rice such as Medium Grain Rice (like Arborio Rice, Sushi Rice, or Bomba Rice) and Short Grain Rice.


Rice harvesting season in North America is typically early or mid-July in early planting regions such as California where most of the Japonica Medium Grain Rice is sown and grown. Some Rice farmers are able to reflood their fields after their first harvest and achieve a partial second harvest or "ratoon" crop from the stubble of the first.


Japonica Rice is grown in regions with cooler, temperate or mountainous climates.


Japonica Rice accounts for more than 10% of total global rice trade and are higher yielding and more disease resistant than most Indica varieties.


Because it is the forerunner of so many modern Rice types, Japonica Rice can come in a variety of forms: One of the most unusual is Black Japonica Rice, which is a blend of one quarter black short-grain Japonica and three quarters medium-grain mahogany-red rice. Black Japonica Rice is chewy but also tender; it is full of flavor and very good for use in Stuffing or in Rice Salads.


Because it is more of a category name, Japonica Rice is seldom found at retail listed as “Japonica Rice.” It will be more often found listed as a named variety of Medium Grain Rice or Short Grain Rice.

In general, when looking to purchase Rice, try to purchase newer, fresher Rice with few broken grains and no obvious signs of exposure to moisture. Your final dish will likely be a mess of overdone and underdone Rice if you cook with broken grains and whole grains: broken grains are smaller than whole grains and the two sizes won’t cook together uniformly.


Again, you won’t typically find Rice labeled “Japonica” at retail, but if you do then the storage advice will be more relevant based on whether it is a Brown Rice (with the oily Rice Bran intact) or a White Rice with the Rice Bran removed.

Brown Japonica Rice has Rice Bran Oil which will go Rancid in its bran layer; therefore, it has a shorter shelf life than White Rice and requires a little different handling and philosophy to maximize yield and value.

How you store Brown Japonica Rice depends on how quickly you plan to use it. If you plan to use it all in a few weeks, store the Brown Japonica Rice in an airtight container in a cool dark place like your pantry. Sealed, it may last 3-6 months but will be best for only a few weeks. If you open your package from the pantry, store the unused portion in the refrigerator or freezer for a better shelf life.

In the refrigerator, sealed, your Brown Japonica Rice will last for 6-12 months in an airtight container. Frozen, you should get 12-18 months (for best quality).

If the Brown Japonica Rice is cooked, let it Temper to room temperature before storing it in the refrigerator. Cooked Brown Japonica Rice will last about 3-5 days in the refrigerator but it is best to use it within 2 days.

White Japonica Rice on the other hand is a dried grain with very little to go bad. An unopened container of White Japonica Rice will keep almost indefinitely in a pantry at room temperature, in the refrigerator, or frozen. Once opened, the only real risks to the shelf life are moisture and pests, including bugs and rats. Keeping the container sealed and airtight can protect against both of these.

If you are storing cooked White Japonica Rice then let it Temper to room temperature before storing it in the refrigerator. Cooked White Japonica Rice will last about 4-7 days in the refrigerator but it is best to use it within 2 days. 

Culinary Uses

Japonica Rice is more a category than a specific Rice type and includes both Medium Grain Rice and Short Grain Rice. See the Medium Grain Rice or Short Grain Rice Resource Pages for particular cooking advice.


Most Medium Grain RiceĀ can be substituted for Japonica Rice.

Nutritional Value

Serving Size 1

Serving (100 g)

Calories 350

Calories from Fat 10

Total Fat 1.1 g 2%

Carbohydrates 8.1 g 3%

Protein 6.5 g


See the specific Rice types for more detailed Nutrition Information.

Gluten Free


Low Fat


Low Calorie