Although many epidemiological studies have examined the association of dietary glycaemic index (GI) and glycaemic load (GL) with health outcomes, information on the reproducibility and relative validity of these variables estimated from dietary questionnaires is extremely limited. We examined the reproducibility and relative validity of dietary GI and GL assessed with a self-administered diet-history questionnaire (DHQ) in adult Japanese. A total of ninety-two Japanese women and ninety-two Japanese men aged 31–76 years completed the DHQ (assessing diet during the preceding month) and 4 d dietary records (DR) in each season over a 1-year period (DHQ1–4 and DR1–4, respectively) and the DHQ at 1 year after completing DHQ1 (DHQ5). We used intraclass correlations between DHQ1 and DHQ5 to assess reproducibility, and Pearson correlations between the mean of DR1–4 and mean of DHQ1–4 and between the mean of DR1–4 and DHQ1 to assess relative validity. Reproducibility correlations for dietary GI and GL were 0·57 and 0·69 among women and 0·65 and 0·58 among men, respectively. Validity correlations for dietary GI and GL assessed by DHQ1–4 were 0·72 and 0·66 among women and 0·65 and 0·71 among men, respectively. Corresponding correlations for DHQ1 were 0·53 and 0·58 among women and 0·57 and 0·60 among men, respectively. White rice was the major contributor to GI and GL in both methods (49–64 %). These data indicate reasonable reproducibility and relative validity of dietary GI and GL assessed by a DHQ for Japanese adults, whose dietary GI and GL are primarily determined by the GI of white rice.