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Yamagata: Fruit Paradise

Hi, my name is Caroline Jilbert. I am a Yamagata Study Abroad Ambassador from Indonesia. When I first told my friends about studying in Japan, many said that I would not be able to eat fruit as often as usual due to its high price. I was scared to hear that because I love fruit so much and I ate it every day. Well, I could not disagree that the price of fruits here is higher compared to my home country. However, there is an underlying reason for the price. The fruits here are undoubtedly of high quality. The fruit growers take great care of each fruit so that they can grow in the most optimum condition, and it does take a lot of attention and effort.

I am currently pursuing my master’s degree at Yamagata University. As the name stated, it is located in Yamagata prefecture, which is well-known for its fruit and agricultural products. Here, I easily find a lot of varieties of fruits in the farmers’ market or local supermarket. Yamagata is famous for its sweet cherry fruit in summer and La France Pear, persimmon, and grape are famous during autumn.

To be more precise, I live in Tsuruoka city which is part of Shonai area of Yamagata prefecture. It is known for producing Shonai persimmon (Shonaigaki). During harvest season, I got some persimmons for free from farmers and students who grow them. I received a lot that I could also share with my friends. The taste is sweet, and the fruit is very juicy.

Speaking of Shonaigaki, I participated in a cooking demo using Shonaigaki. I gained new insights into how Shonaigaki can be eaten not only as is but also in salad, dessert, and even savory dishes like stew and gratin. I also participated in the tasting event held by the Regional Promotion Project Council in Kushibiki area of Tsuruoka city. I learned how the farmers remove astringent taste of the persimmon fruit, and I was introduced to 10 varieties of Shonaigaki persimmon with various textures and tastes.

In the separate events, I had the opportunity to taste and compare 13 varieties of sweet cherry, 3 Japanese pears, and 5 varieties of European pears from Kushibiki area. These experiences are valuable to me since I might not get the same opportunities in other places, and they definitely make my love for fruits of Yamagata grow fonder.

Additionally, I had an exciting experience of sweet cherry picking in summer with my friends. It was fun since we could try freshly picked fruits of many varieties. This includes the newly introduced ‘Beniou’ variety, which is the size of a 500-yen coin. I highly recommend adding fruit picking in Yamagata to your to-do list during your visit to Japan. The next time you travel here, treat yourself to the delicious fruits of Yamagata.


こんにちは、インドネシア出身のやまがた留学アンバサダー、ジルバート カロリンです。







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