Fairyland covered by hanamomo blossoms started with one tree planted by local farmer (Niyodogawa Town, Kochi Prefecture)

KOCHI, Apr. 8 – Spring has come, and the Kuki Region in Niyodogawa Town, Kochi Prefecture, is exploding with white, pink, and red colors of hanamomo peach flowers in full bloom. This fairyland scenery was created from one tree planted by one local farmer. “It’s the best time, and I’m glad you are here at the right time,” said Yuichi Hiura, a 92-year-old farmer who grows Japanese tea leaves locally, while chatting with other visitors. About 50 years ago, Hiura planted the very first Genpei hanamomo peach tree on his tea plantation. After that, he began planting more trees on nearby plantations so that these fields would not be abandoned … Continue reading

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Volunteers recruited to pick pear flowers in Chiba after fire blight outbreak in China blocks pollen imports

CHIBA, April 6 — With imports of pear pollen from China suspended due to the recent outbreak of fire blight in the country, the city of Ichikawa in Chiba Prefecture has recruited pear flower picking volunteers as an emergency measure for growers to obtain pollen. The volunteers actively took part in hand-harvesting flowers after receiving training. Chiba boasts Japan’s largest pear cultivating area and Ichikawa is the No. 2 pear growing municipality in the prefecture. Following the suspension of Chinese-made pollen imports, the Ichikawa Municipal Government’s agriculture promotion division hurriedly recruited volunteers in January to make up for the shortage of workers collecting pollen. Artificial pollination is essential for pear … Continue reading

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Wasabi stems marinated in oil awarded top local specialty prize by The Japan Agricultural News

TOKYO, March 26 — The Japan Agricultural News held an annual contest for local specialties on March 25 and the grand prize was awarded to Hatawasabeze, wasabi stems marinated in sunflower oil marketed by Iwaizumi Holdings based in the town of Iwaizumi, Iwate Prefecture. The product is made using hatawasabi — wasabi grown in fields — in which the town cultivates the largest amount in the country. It was highly evaluated for its unique tingling flavor that goes well with both Japanese and Western foods and the local efforts to promote the area using its specialty. Manga artist Mitsuru Yaku, head of the judging panel, said, “I was certainly impressed … Continue reading

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Black King Gummy wins crown in All-Japan Nippon-Yell Gummy Election

TOKYO, Mar. 30 – On March 29, the National Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Associations (ZEN-NOH) announced the winners of the nationwide poll to choose the country’s most popular Nippon Yell brand gummy candies made of local fruits. The crown winner of the first-ever gummy contest was “Black King Gummy from Yamanashi Prefecture.” In addition to standard people’s favorites such as Shine Muscat and Beni Madonna citrus, some fruits that are rarely available fresh in the market also ranked high in the list of the most popular local fruit gummy products. ZEN-NOH set up a special site to introduce 47 candidates made of signature fruits from all 47 prefectures of Japan. … Continue reading

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Red and white Japanese apricot blossoms in full bloom

GUNMA, March 22 — Ume Japanese apricot blossoms are in full bloom at Misato Ume Groves in Takasaki, Gunma Prefecture, a major ume growing region, attracting visitors. Roughly 100,000 ume trees are cultivated on a 300-hectare land by some 200 farming households that belong to the ume group of JA Hagukumi Misato, a local agricultural cooperative. Visitors can enjoy the landscape of ume trees spreading their branches with the Kanto plain in the background. Sixty percent of the trees are the Shirokaga variety, used to produce ume liquor and pickles. Several other small-size ume varieties are planted, including Orihime and Koshu, as the trees require cross-pollination to bear fruit. The … Continue reading

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