おこめ券: okomeken. This means rice coupon or ticket. お “o” is the honorable prefix, 米/こめ kome is rice, and 券 ken is ticket / coupon / certificate.
I was fortunate enough to receive such a gift around Christmas and the New year. At first, I thought, “what???!” It seemed a bit strange. There is a national program set up where you can basically buy gift certificates for 1 kg of rice for people. You can use these tickets at pretty much any grocery store. I think it costs about 500円 to purchase these. But then you can give these out during holidays or special occasions. It is actually sort of convenient, and a nice gift in that you can choose your own rice, if you have a preference. Also, there is no expiration date!
In addition, many other places will accept these rice certificates; for my husband, one of these places is Joyfull restaurant. Instead of 1 kg rice, it can be used as 〜440円 discount on the bill. I had to read some blogs in Japanese to figure out the logistics of using it, and discovered some places will also redeem these, so I gave some to my husband so he could eat cheaply. Not enough English blogs talk about using these okome-ken…
If you live in Okinawa, here are some places that will redeem rice tickets in addition to the grocery stores (grocery stores will have marked which rice can use okomeken, and when in doubt just ask): Makeman (home improvement store), Wafu-tei (restaurant), HottoMotto (bento store), Joyfull (restaurant), and some gas stations!
If you should want to purchase rice tickets (to give to other people), go to the service counter of a department store, and many of them will sell these.
This one is shamefully a bit crumpled from being in my husbands wallet. I should have kept the pictures from when it was brand new and perfectly smooth.