The staple of Japanese cuisine, rice is generally eaten with every meal. It is prepared in a manner that makes it sticky enough to be easily maneuvered with chopsticks. Rice is the basis of sushi and often eaten for breakfast. Rice can also be included in soups served at the end of meals such as shabu-shabu.

Rice may also serve as the base for other dishes. Kamameshi is a popular rice casserole dish made with meats and vegetables. Onigiri are rice balls (or shaped rice cakes, depending on how you view them) filled with salty or sour ingredients (differentiating the rice from the sweeter sushi). Sekihan derives its red color from azuki beans and is seen as a celebratory dish.

Donburi are single dish meals of steamed rice and various toppings. Tonkatsu, chicken, beef, eggs, and vegetables are used to flavor the rice dish.