It’s fall, which means apple season here in Nagano. Depending on where you are from, visiting an apple orchard may not be high on your list for your Japan itinerary. However, not only do apples taste their best when eaten freshly picked right of the tree, but Japan has varieties you may have never seen before, and the attention to details that the orchardists give to their fruit will amaze you.
My favorite apple variety is called ‘kogyoku’. It has a tart taste, similar to the granny smith apples I grew up with back in the States. Kogyoku is sort of a heritage variety of apples, and is slowly being replaced by newer varieties that are more disease resistant and travel better. But for me, their tart taste makes kogyoku my favorite, and it doesn’t get any better than picking one from a tree and eating it right then and there.
Just a quick 5 minute drive from our onsen town, Togura-Kamiyamada, are several apple orchards. At one, Crown Farm, English and German is spoken. The Tobita’s still have a few kogyoku trees as well as lots of the new varieties. The kogyoku season runs through October but keep in mind, availability is limited. From November, the orchards shift to their mainstay fuji apples.
Crown Farm Tel (026)275-0929