The Fruitful Seasons in Japan

People are much more attracted to unique places and activities in Japan recently. Thus, fruit picking has been included in the itinerary of most travelers. From strawberries to pears, Japan has it all for you.

Pear

Pyrus pyrifolia fruit on tree PS 2z LRThe Japanese pear or commonly known as Nashi is quite different from the pears from other countries as they are much larger, much crispier and spherical shaped.  The taste is similar although many have testified that Nashi tastes a bit lighter.  This fruit is eaten by peeling the skin off, slicing or dicing it before eating it raw.  It is also best to serve chilled or added to salads.  Various recipes with Nashi are also invading the Japanese cuisine, as a matter of fact, pear tarts are a Japanese favorite.

The season for Nashi in Japan is during late summer and autumn (September to October).  If you want to experience fruit picking during this season, you can head on to the largest orchard in Kasumigaura City, the Yasuda Pear Orchard.  Other fruits such as grapes and chestnuts can also be picked here.  The orchard is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Persimmon

Diospyros kaki fruit 02 by Line1The Japanese Persimmon, or locally known as Kaki, is an all-time autumn favorite fruit of the Japanese. Packed with vitamins and minerals, Kaki has more vitamin C content than lemons. The fruit is identical to apples and pears in terms of the shape, size and crispiness, not to mention the way they are eaten : peel off the skin, take out the seeds and cut into bite-size pieces. Kakis are in season during late autumn and winter (November to February), where you would get to see Kaki trees with only the fruits hanging while all leaves have completely fallen.

The Meika-en Farm at Fukuoka offers you the best fruit picking experience for Kaki. Entrance fee is free while the fruits you have picked are weighed and are priced around 550 yen per kilogram.

Apple

Rosaceae Malus pumila Malus pumila Var domestica Apples FujiEven as kids, we always hear our parents utter, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Since Japanese love Ringo or apples so much, that could be the reason why they look and feel healthy. Being the most popular fruit in Japan, you can buy apples almost anywhere in the country. In addition to that, there are several varieties of apples that you can choose from that are locally produced in Japan. Among the popular varieties are the Fuji apples, Green Orin apples and Crunchy Tsugaru apples.

If you want a bite from a juicy and crispy apple straight from the farm to your hand, go ahead and visit Kuroda Ringo Orchard during the apple season from autumn and early winter. The farm is located at 4445 Konamase, Daigocho, Kuji District, Ibaraki Prefecture. Admission fees are ranging from 300 to 400 yen while the fresh apples you have picked from the farm would cost around 650 yen per kilogram.

Kumquat

Citrus japonica2In Japan, there is a type of Kumquat called Kinkan.  It is similar to oranges although the size is smaller and typically eaten whole without peeling its skin.  It is a familiar fruit during the winter season (November to February) especially since Kinkan has a higher dose of vitamin C, perfect in fighting off common cold illness such as cough and colds.  Kinkans have a just amount of sourness, not as strong as the yuzu or sudachi, its outer layer is a bit crunchy while the fruit inside is juicy and pulpy.  Japanese are fond of making juices out of the Kinkan fruit, and they are also best known for making dried Kinkans.

The Kinkan tree is almost grown everywhere in Japan : you can see Kinkan trees in parks, establishments and even at Japanese residences.  There’s no need to travel far to pick a Kinkan.

Cherry

Every dessert would look enticing, special and delicious when topped with cherries.  Japan produces the famous Satonishiki cherry which has been popular all over the world since the 1900s.  Satonishiki cherries are bright red in color and have been consistent in being the most popular variety of cherry in Japan up to date.  The Yamagata Prefecture is one of the major producers of cherries.  Thus, if you want to go fruit picking for fresh cherries, you must locate the Oshokaju Orchard at Yamagata, Tendo, Kawarago 1303.  The farm can be reached in just 15 minutes by car from JR Tendo Station. 

Cherries are locally known as Sakuranbo in Japan.  They are one of the sought out fruits in the market.  You can eat Sakuranbo for desserts, topped with your favorite ice cream or cake or you can eat it plainly.  Sakuranbo in Japan are characterized by its sweetness and glossy red shiny skin.  The best time to go fruit picking for cherries is during summer (May to July).

Grape

Grapes or Budo in Japan has elevated the fruit producing market of the country to global heights.  Grapes in Japan are much larger, much sweeter and very attractive in terms of appearance compared to the grapes produced by other countries.  The main difference between Budo and grapes from elsewhere in the globe is the skin.  The skin of Budo is quite thick therefore most people take it out before eating.  The most popular variety of grapes in Japan is the Kyoho grape.  The Kyoho grape variety is dark purple in color and particularly large.

The grape season in Japan starts from late summer to early autumn (August to November).  The Aso North Grape Farm situated at Aso, Kumamoto is the best place to harvest grapes.  There are over 20 grape varieties that are cultivated here and the most recommended one is the Yuho grape.  It is an unusual variety that is rarely available in commercial places.  Entrance fee in the farm is free and all you need to do is pay for the fruits you harvested there. 

Strawberry

Ishigaki ichigoStrawberries are by far one of the fruits loved by everyone.  It doesn’t just tempt you by its luscious looks but by the sweetness and the texture it brings to your palate.  Strawberries or ichigo in Japan, are grown almost in all prefectures.  The best fruit picking season is during late winter and early spring (December to May).  One of the popular strawberry farms in Japan is Yoshimura Strawberry Park in Mashiko area, Tochigi Prefecture.  The farm is only 2 hours away from Tokyo and offers unlimited strawberries all year round.  The admission fee ranges from 1,300 yen to 1,600 yen, in addition to that, kids 2 years old below are free of charge. 

Japan has a bountiful variety of ichigo, ranging from its size, taste, color and even the location on where the fruit originated.  An interesting information we gather is that strawberries are sweetest at the tip.  Therefore, you should eat it starting from the stem and working your way to the tip to taste the best combo ever of perfect sourness and oozing sweetness.

Kiwi

Golden kiwi in japan - 2020 5 10The kiwis in Japan are not entirely distinctive from the kiwis in other parts of the world.  It’s typically made up of a thin outer layer, brown skin and a green juicy flesh inside.  The fruit is eaten raw.  Simply peel off the skin, take a knife to cut it in half and take out the seeds before eating the flesh.  Local kiwis are seasonally available whereas imported ones are available all year round.  

Kiwi season starts from late winter and early spring  (October to December).  During the season, you may visit Kiwifruits County Japan. A kiwi farm who cultivates kiwi and provides fruit picking activities for guests who wants to experience the rare experience of picking kiwi fruits or eating a freshly picked kiwi straight from the tree itself.  The farm is only 10 minutes by taxi from Kakegawa Station.

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