Phosphorus (P) is an essential plant nutrient. Most rice growing lands lack adequate P, requiring multiple P fertiliser applications to obtain expected yields. However, P fertiliser is environmentally damaging, and already unaffordable to the marginal farmers. This warrants developing P-efficient rice varieties that require less P to produce the expected yield. However, genetic factors underlying P-use efficiency (PUE) in rice remain elusive. Here, we conducted comparative transcriptome analysis using two rice varieties with contrasting PUE; a P-efficient landrace DJ123 and a P-inefficient modern cultivar IR64. We aimed to understand the transcriptomic responses in DJ123 that allow it to achieve a high PUE under low P conditions. Our results showed that both DJ123 and IR64 had replete tissue P concentrations after 48 h of P deprivation. Yet, DJ123 strongly responded to the external low P availability by inducing P starvation-inducible genes that included SPX2, PHO1, PAPs and SQDs, while these genes were not significantly induced in IR64. We envisage that the ability of DJ123 to rapidly respond to low P conditions might be the key to its high PUE. Our findings lay a valuable foundation in elucidating PUE mechanism in rice, thus will potentially contribute to developing P-efficient modern rice variety.