By Eri Chihara, PR


On December the 3rd, the preliminary screening for the contest was held at our rice polishing facility,

For this year’s contest – the second edition – this is 43 different kinds of Yamada Nishiki rice which have been submitted, harvested last fall in 13 prefectures around Japan.

There are seven judges, people coming from different regions, all experts in Yamada-Nishiki quality grading.

Furthermore, one of our staff – Enomoto – will be participating as a judge from this year’s edition, as he has been polishing our rice for a long time and is still in charge of rice washing and steaming at Asahi Shuzo.


According to the experts, the quality of Yamada Nishiki rice should always be judged under natural light - outdoors.

Also, in order not to risk any unfair differences due to perspective, we have placed different samples of the same rice in three different places.

Everyone watching was impressed, as every judges took time to carefully inspect and touch each samples of rice.

One after another, the judges had one same comment: “This year’s harvest is even better than last year’s!”

Even to the untrained eye, you could clearly see that the rice grains are uniformly large and shiny.

A good Yamada-Nishiki rice is characterized by a large, round shape in the middle of the rice called “shinpaku” (meaning “the white heart”), which is important for koji-making, the base of sake. Well, there were some great rice grains carrying wonderful ones.

A score was given to each rice on a five-point scale, and the top eight will proceed to the final screening, to-be-held on December the 24th.

Although we were told that this year's weather had impacted the harvest of Yamada Nishiki rice, all of the entries we received were actually of very fine quality.

We would like to thank all the producers who took up the challenge again this year, including those who unfortunately had their rice declined by the panel’s standards.