One fall morning in 2000, Takashi Imai found a dozen or so unusually tall rice plants growing amid the Koshihikari in his terraced paddy. Closer inspection, confirmed later by genetic testing, revealed them to be unrelated to Koshihikari and possibly derived from Javanica rather than the Japonica race. He sowed the seeds the following year and by 2006 the new cultivar ‘Inochi no Ichi’ was named and registered.
“It’s tricky to grow,” says Imai. “The seeds don’t always take, the plant is susceptible to disease once the grain ripens, and harvest is later than other varieties. But the grains are 1.5 times larger and heavier than Koshihikari and the rice is flavorful and sweet, with a pleasant reedy scent.” Sold as Ryu no Hitomi, the rice has Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) certification and organic production is now in testing.
（The Cuisine Magazine / December 2017）