High Quality Fruits in Japan
Giant "New Pione" grapes - Seedless and juicy!
The other day, I found giant "New Pione" grapes at a local supermarket and I could help buying one even though the price was rather high compared to other grapes (750 yen per pack while regular grapes are sold at 350 yen per pack). They are seedless and each grape has a diameter of 4cm or more. They have a thick body and plenty of sweet juice - they are so good! It does no longer feel like eating grapes, the ones we are familiar with. They were utterly delicious!!
We have many top world-class fresh fruits producing areas in Japan such as Okayama for grapes and peaches, Yamanashi for grapes, Tottori for water melons, Aomori for apples, Wakayama for oranges, just to name a few.
There is a stereotype that fruits in Japan are outrageously expensive. Such a stereotype is wrong as regular fruits in regular supermarkets are generally reasonably priced. At the same time, there is a relatively large market for luxury premium fruits sold at special fruits stores and in department stores. I've heard premium water melons produced in Tottori prefecture are exported to Dubai and sold at 30,000 yen each although they are for celebrity people like royal families.
How and when do you eat fruits?
Although I am not particularly a big fruits lover, I missed Japanese sweet and big fruits when I studied in the States as an exchange student. They have a variety of fruits in daily life of course, but fruits culture is somewhat different.
Based on my personal experience and observation outside Japan, western people eat more fruits any time of the day in more casual ways while the most common way to enjoy fruits in Japan is as dessert at the end of a meal. My roommates used to bite apples when get hungry between meals and often take an apple, a small peach or even grapes in a ziploc bag when they go to school. They eat fruits as healthy foods. Also, they usually eat fruits with the skin on.
On the other hand, in Japan (I believe partially due to the limited land we have), fruits producers and researchers have been working hard to make most fruits sweet, delicate, rather big and have a rich fragrance with plenty of juice at the time. So, when we eat fruits, we peel a skin in order to remove bitterness, make it pleasant to the taste and enjoy fruit sweetness as much as possible. As you can see on the photo, I always peel a skin of each grape even though I know I am wasting polyphenols that have antioxidant activity. And I love seedless ones thanks to today's breeding technique! Shine Muscat is another new grapes I tried for the first time this year and liked them very much. It seems we have a new kind of grape every year.
Fruit Picking Experience
Fruit picking has become a popular tourist attractions in recent years. Here is some information link.
When you go to grape picking for example, you see grapes are covered with small bags to be protected from insects and agricultural chemicals. Each bunch is carefully hand-covered with a small bag. The quality, beauty and graceful look safely grow in this bag. All the hard work and care comes from the heart of the producers who take pride in cultivating the high quality fruits.
When you come to Japan, I recommend to check out local supermarkets, buy some big thick body fruits in Japan and try them in your hotel rooms as dessert . I am sure it will be another great memory in Japan!