Rice cooker is one of the most popular electronic products to buy in Japan among international travellers. There are many manufacturers, features and functions when it comes to rice cookers. If you look into every single products, it would take forever and would be too hard to choose the one for yourself..
In this post, I am going to introduce you some of best Japanese rice cookers in 2019, as well as 3 delicious food recipes which you can cook easily using rice cookers!
So, as I mentioned, there are numbers of different types of rice cookers sold in Japan today. I’d like to briefly introduce the major features of common rice cookers and which one to choose.
< Size >
Size of rice cookers are displayed in “GO” (合) which is the Japanese counter words for rice. 1 Go is approx 150g. 10 go is also called 1 “Sho” (升)
The sizes of rice cookers varies on how many Go of rice can be cooked as below:
– 3 Go size (approx. 450g): This size would be perfect if you are living alone or with your partner. It wouldn’t take up much space.
-5 Go size (approx. 750g): It is a perfect size for a family of three to four.
-1 Sho size/10 Go size (approx. 1,800g): Great for family of more than four.
< Features >
-Distinctive cooking feature:
There are many kinds of rice: white rice, washing unnecessary rice, brown rice, haiga-mai, zakkoku-mai (mixed rice). Distinctive cooking feature allows you to cook differently depending on what kind of rice you are cooking in the most delicious way!
-Hardness selection feature:
The function which allows you to choose the hardness of the rice does come in handy. If you want a particular hardness or want to change the hardness by a dish, then this would be a great function.
When rice nearly gets done cooking, the rice cooker will produce so much steam. This could be dangerous for a small child if they accidentally approach the cooker. However, if you use a steam-less/non-steam rice cooker, then you don’t have to worry about your child getting burnt by the steam. Also, it won’t allow the smell to come out, so that you don’t have to worry about it either.
There are some rice cookers you can bake bread. From dough making ferment and rice to an actual baking process will be all done by a rice cooker, so all you have to do is turn on the switch and wait.
An eco rice cooker can cook rice with using less electricity, in another words, spending less money on electricity.
-Smartphone link feature:
There are many rice cookers with this function being sold these days. There is a special app that you can download and synchronize your phone with and enter your favorite recipes from the app to your rice cooker, which the best cooking method will be decided and cooked by a rice cooker. This will widen the range of recipes and save your cooking time.
< Style & Price Range >
-Microprocessor rice cooker
These rice cooker has an easy mechanism: heating the pot inside from the heater from the bottom of the cooker. You can cook rice fast, but the hardness of rice will not so be even, so if you are a fan of hard rice, it is the recommended one for you. It is not the best at keeping the rice warm, so if you are someone who eats the rice immediately after you cook it or doesn’t really care the kind, then these rice cookers would be the perfect one!
IRIS OHYAMA KRC-MA50-B (5.5 Go size)
This cooker alters the cooking method by a rice brand, in fact it can cook 31 different brands distinctively. Also, it has other features, for example boiling and steaming. So you can use it other than to cook rice. even though it is a microprocessor rice cooker and has all the amazing features, it is under 10,000 JPY, which is the reason why this is popular. The menu of rice cooking is available for No-wash rice, regular rice, takikomi rice, rice gruel, genmai, boil/steam with 3 different modes: distinctive cooking mode, eco mode, fast cooking mode.
Price: JPY 8,000-
TIGER JAJ-A552 WS (3 Go size)
This small capacity rice cooker has a cooking plate as an attachment which can cook a cuisine at the same time as cooking rice. In addition to that, it also has a recipe book containing 40 kinds of dishes. It is popular for those who are busy or live alone. It has “eco-cooking” recipes, which cuts approximately 10 % of your electricity use and 30 % of the steam than usual.
-IH rice cooker
As you may probably know, IH stands for “Induction Heating”. The pot inside it gets directly heated up by the electro-magnetic force which makes the heat circulates the entire pot evenly. Then, the heated pot steams up the rice inside all at once resulting in soft and giving a little sweetness to it. the price is approximately JPY 15,000-.
ZOJIRUSHI COOPERATION, NP-VQ10-TA IH rice cooker (5.5 Go size)
The high heat from this cooker makes the rice gets steamed from the inside which makes it very soft and delicious. You can choose how hard you want your rice to be from the three choices: normal, soft, hard. These rice cooker has superior temperature control. The rice inside will get hardened in a few hours if you leave it in a microprocessor rice cooker. However, these IH rice cooker can keep the softness for 30 hours by controlling the temperature. The temperature sensor at the bottom of the cooker judges the perfect heat level to avoid the moisture of the rice from going away. There are three options to choose from: Urutsuya (avoids discoloration, dryness and smell) and High (keeps the temperature to the point where you normally eat). Other than to cook rice, there are options for baking bread called “bread (fermentation/bake)” as well as, “cake menu” which you can bake delicious fluffy cakes. There is a huge range of things you can cook.
Price: JPY 23,000-
Panasonic SR-KT067-K (3.5 Go size)
This stylishly designed cooker has no buttons. Instead, it has a glass touch panel. Many people say that this simple design makes the washing up and cleaning easy. If you are into simple designs then give this a go! It is 3.5 go size and somewhat small and it can be poor in temperature control. The rice will be cooked soft evenly as all the IH rice cookers do.
Price: JPY 23,000-
-Pressure IH rice cooker
This type of rice cookers is like a combination of the power of an electromagnetic wave and pressure. The power of pressure heightens the temperature inside the jar and steams rice outright and creates soft and sweet rice. We recommend this to those who want to eat rice to be delicious even when it is not warm and want the perfect results. These can be a little pricy because of all the high-functions. Over JPY 17,000 to be precise.
ZOJIRUSHI COOPERATION, steel coated, Kiwame Hagama, NW-AB10 (5.5 Go size)
This cooker has a unique jar shape called “Hagama”. It has a protuberance in the center that looks like a feather. This structure keeps the heat from going outside of the jar and gathers the heat in the center, makes the rice easier to circulate and steams non-squished and soft rice. If you want your rice to be perfect and have delicious rice, this is the one for you.
Price: JPY 60,000-
TIGAR IH pressure earthen rice cooker, THE Takitate JPG-X (5.5 Go size)
This cooker uses an earthen jar. An earthen jar holds the heat and emits IR ray when you put heat on it. This makes the heat to go inside the rice slowly, makes it soft from the inside. Rice will be cooked more deliciously than others do thanks to the pot. There are so many benefits that you can get from steaming rice using this kind of pots, for example the excellent fragrant, the Okoge (scorched rice which tastes amazing) you can get from it and of course the fantastic tasting rice. This rice cooker can be expensive but there is no other substitute for the taste, the smell, pretty much the whole experience!
The only downside of them are that the earthen jars can be more fragile than those made of metal. Earthen jars can absorb water easily. If a jar absorbs a certain amount of water, it can crack. So you need to a little cautious when you take care of them. However, this particular TIGAR rice cooker made their jar stronger than other models that they put out.
Price: JPY 89,000-