Chinese agricultural soils and crops are suffering from increasing damage from heavy metals, which are introduced from various pollution sources including agriculture, traffic, mining and especially the flourishing private metal recycling industry. In this study, 219 pairs of rice grain and corresponding soil samples were collected from Wenling in Zhejiang Province to identify the spatial relationship and pollution hotspots of Cd, Cu, Ni and Zn in the soil-rice system. The mean soil concentrations of heavy metals were 0.316 mg kg(-1) for Cd, 47.3 mg kg(-1) for Cu, 31.7 mg kg(-1) for Ni and 131 mg kg(-1) for Zn, and the metal concentrations in rice grain were 0.132 mg kg(-1) for Cd, 2.46 mg kg(-1) for Cu, 0.223 mg kg(-1) for Ni and 17.4 mg kg(-1) for Zn. The coefficient of variability (CV) of soil Cd, Cu and rice Cd were 147%, 146% and 180%, respectively, indicating an extensive variability. While the CVs of other metals ranged from 23.4% to 84.3% with a moderate variability. Kriging interpolation procedure and the Local Moran's I index detected the locations of pollution hotspots of these four metals. Cd and Cu had a very similar spatial pattern, with contamination hotspots located simultaneously in the northwestern part of the study area, and there were obvious hotspots for soil Zn in the north area, while in the northeast for soil Ni. The existence of hotspots may be due to industrialization and other anthropogenic activities. An Enrichment Index (EI) was employed to measure the uptake of heavy metals by rice. The results indicated that the accumulation and availability of heavy metals in the soil-rice system may be influenced by both soil heavy metal concentrations and soil physico-chemical properties. Cross-correlograms quantitatively illustrated that EIs were significantly correlated with soil properties. Soil pH and organic matter were the most important factors controlling the uptake of heavy metals by rice. As results, positive measures should be taken into account to control soil pollution and to curtail metal contamination to the food chain in the areas of Wenling, which were the most polluted by toxic metals.