Yamanouchi, Nagano Prefecture: Renowned for Its Fine Apples

Guide to Japan Food and Drink

Nagano Prefecture is one of Japan’s top producers of various popular fruits, including grapes, peaches, and cherries. In particular, its apple crop is second only to that of Aomori. The varieties are numerous, and the harvest season is long, extending from late August through late December. Apple growing is a major activity in Yamanouchi, a town in the northern part of the prefecture that is famous for the “snow monkeys” that can be seen bathing in hot springs during the winter. The conditions here are good for producing apples, with clear water flowing down from Shiga Kōgen (Shiga Highlands) at an elevation of 2,000 meters, along with big differences between daytime and nighttime temperatures. Major varieties grown here include Tsugaru, an early-ripening, sweet apple, and San Fuji (or Sun Fuji), which is juicy and readily accumulates syrup. Shinano Gold and Shinano Sweet, also grown here, are varieties developed in Nagano Prefecture (which was formerly known as Shinano). Yamanouchi’s apples are renowned for their high quality, and up-market Tokyo fruit retailers have been working together with the town to promote their sales. During the harvest season, some orchards are open to the public for apple picking.

(Originally published in Japanese. Created in cooperation with Goolight.)

Nagano fruit apple