Fresh rice is delicious.
The rice that was just harvested that year is called “Shinmai” (新米, new crop). While the harvest time of rice varies depending on the variety, around September every year, rice labeled “Shinmai” begins to appear in stores.
There are some precautions when cooking new rice. New rice contains a lot of water, so you should add a little less water than usual.
Another important thing about the freshness of rice is rice polishing day (精米 “Seimai” in Japanese). Polishing is removing rice husks from brown rice (玄米 “genmai” in Japanese) to make white rice. Although it is possible to eat polished rice for several months, it is desirable to eat polished rice early because the taste deteriorates quickly.
Therefore, when you buy white rice, you should check not only the “exp. date” but also the date of polishing (“精米日” in Japanese). I also recommend that you buy the amount that you can eat immediately.
Also, you can cook brown rice as it is. Like whole wheat, brown rice has more nutrients than white rice.
But brown rice has a little hard texture, so some Japanese people cook it by mixing it with white rice. Recently, sprouted brown rice (発芽玄米 “Hatsuga-genmai” in Japanese), which has a property between white rice and brown rice, is popular.