15 Japanese Fruits
Japan has very little arable land. In fact, only 12% of its land mass is used for farming as compared to 45% in the United States.
Japanese fruit orchards are small and the cost of living in Japan is reasonably high. In order to make a living, Japanese orchards must grow premium products that fetch a high price on the market.
As a result, most of the fruit grown in Japan is high quality. It's common for each prefecture to grow its own unique varieties of fruit.
Japan has plenty of fruits that are worth a try:
December to May
Japanese strawberries are surprisingly unique with dozens of regional varieties. High quality strawberries are considered a romantic gift that can cost up to 1000 yen per berry. Strawberry varieties are branded with names like "scent of first love."
August to November
Kyoho are large, dark purple Japanese grapes that have a thick skin and are usually eaten pealed. Kyoho are juicy with a pleasingly light grape taste. They can grow as large as a plum.
November to February
Kaki are an orange Japanese fruit that have a woody texture and unique citrus-like taste. They come into season in late autumn. Kaki trees completely loose their leaves before they bear fruit. The sight of bright orange Kaki on barren trees is a common sight in the Japanese countryside in autumn.
October to January
Small delicate Japanese citrus fruits that are easy to peel. Mikan trees are popular for residential gardens. They are so easy to peal that it's possible to eat dozens of them without thinking about it. They're available in 10 kilogram ( pound) boxes.
5. Fuji Apples
September to November
Fuji apples are large, crisp, sweet Japanese apples that have a long shelf life. They are so popular in Japan that it's difficult to find other apples at Japanese supermarkets. Apple imports are very low in Japan.
6. Nashi Pears
September to October
Nashi are large, round, crisp Japanese pears. They have a similar texture to apples with a light pear taste. Nashi are served peeled and cut. They are also used in baking and cooking. The Japanese are particularly fond of pear tarts.
7. Satonishiki Cherries
May to July
Japan has countless cherry trees. However, most of them are cultivated for cherry blossoms and don't bear fruit.
Japan does grow a unique type of cherry known as the Satonishiki. It's a small, bright red cherry in season in early summer. As with most Japanese fruit, the highest quality Satonishiki are considered a luxury food. Regular quality Satonishiki are available at supermarkets in Japan at a reasonable price.
June to July
Ume are Japanese apricots known for their unique and sour taste. They are seldom eaten directly but are primarily used to make umeboshi pickles. They are also used as an ingredient in a variety of Japanese foods and beverages.
There are many ume trees in Japan. They are popular because ume blossoms are the first flowers to bloom in late winter. They are considered a harbinger of Spring.
November to December
Yuzu are a Japanese citrus fruit with a pungently bitter taste. They have bumpy skin that's initially green. The fruit turns yellow as it ripens. Yuzu aren't very aesthetically pleasing as compared with other Japanese fruit.
They are seldom eaten directly. Instead, their peel and juice is used in cooking and beverages.
August to October
A sour green citrus fruit related to the Yuzu. Plentiful in Oita prefecture but rare in the rest of Japan. Its juice is used as a beverage and fish topping.
August to December
Shikwasa are a familiar part of life in the Okinawan Islands. They are ubiquitous and inexpensive from late summer to mid winter. Many old homes in the islands have Shikwasa in the yard.
They have a sour orange-like flavor. Shikwasa are used to make juice, jams and to flavor local cuisine.
November to February
A bite-sized citrus fruit with a sweet peel and sour inside. Usually eaten whole or candied as a dessert.
13. Japanese Peaches
June to September
Japanese peaches such as Hakuto and Shimizu White Peach are extremely large and juicy. They have thin skin and sweet white flesh.
Japanese peaches are juicy to the point that it's dangerous to bite them. They're usually served peeled and sliced.
Daidai are a resilient type of Japanese citrus fruit that will stay on a tree for many years if nobody picks them. They turn orange in winter and back to green in summer. They are a symbol of longevity in Japan and are used as a Japanese New Years decoration.
October to November
Sudachi are a small green Japanese citrus fruit that have a sour taste that's somewhat orange-like. Despite their appearance, they taste nothing like limes.
Sudachi aren't eaten as a fruit but are widely used in Japanese cooking.
Japanese fruit seasons are roughly as follows.