Heading date 3a (Hd3a) has been detected as a heading-date-related quantitative trait locus in a cross between rice cultivars Nipponbare and Kasalath. A previous study revealed that the Kasalath allele of Hd3a promotes heading under short-day (SD) conditions. High-resolution linkage mapping located the Hd3a locus in a similar ～20-kb genomic region. In this region, we found a candidate gene that shows high similarity to the FLOWERING LOCUS T (FT) gene, which promotes flowering in Arabidopsis. Introduction of the gene caused an early-heading phenotype in rice. The transcript levels of Hd3a were increased under SD conditions. The rice Heading date 1 (Hd1) gene, a homolog of CONSTANS (CO), has been shown to promote heading under SD conditions. By expression analysis, we showed that the amount of Hd3a mRNA is up-regulated by Hd1 under SD conditions, suggesting that Hd3a promotes heading under the control of Hd1. These results indicate that Hd3a encodes a protein closely related to Arabidopsis FT and that the function and regulatory relationship with Hd1 and CO, respectively, of Hd3a and FT are conserved between rice (an SD plant) and Arabidopsis (a long-day plant).