Nagano Apples: Some of the Best in Japan
Visitors to Nagano will quickly notice that apples are everywhere. Home to a huge number of orchards, apples are part of Nagano’s identity as much as the mountains, snow, and monkeys. Indeed, the regional mascot is a green bear with an apple of its head – proof enough that apples are inextricably part of the region’s identity.
It is said that Nagano’s altitude creates a temperature differential in summer and autumn – hot or warm days but cool nights – ideal for growing apples. As such, Nagano is known throughout Japan for the quality, size, and delicious flavor of its apples.
Many farms are family-run with entire villages and towns deriving their income and identity from their apples. Having planted, nurtured and cultivated the orchards over many generations, farmers who welcome visitors from Japan and all over the world to sample and purchase their delicious apples.
Apple season in Nagano runs from mid-September until mid or late-November (depending on the weather conditions of the season). Widely known varieties including San-Fuji, Akibae, Orin and Jonathan are grown in many orchards, along with local varieties including Shinano Sweet and Shinano Gold.
It is said that San-Fuji apples are the most popular variety in Japan and possibly, the entire world. A hybrid variety originating in Japan, these are very large apples with dense flesh and a crisp texture. Highly fragrant their popularity stems from a balanced taste of sweet and sour.
We recommend Shinano Gold which has a distinctive smooth yellow-gold skin, with a crisp texture and sweet, sub-acid flavor. As a medium to large-sized apple, it holds tropical notes of pineapple, pear, and honey, at its best from mid-October to late-November.
From mid-September until mid-November many farms are open to the public and allow fruit-picking directly from their orchards. One of the most relaxing and enjoyable activities available in Nagano during summer and autumn, please refer to our ‘Fruit-picking in Nagano’ page for further information.