Biratori Town, located along the pure waters of the Saru River originating from the Hidaka Range of Central Hokkaido, stands as the prefecture’s largest producer of tomatoes. For many years the municipality has boasted the largest shipment volume of tomatoes in all of Hokkaido. Tomatoes have always been a crop that hates hot and humid conditions, which makes Biratori Town’s cool, dry climate perfect for producing delicious tomatoes with densely packed flesh.
Nishipa no koibito (Nishipa’s lover) is a famous name given to Biratori-grown tomatoes and processed foods. Nishipa means “gentleman, mister or wealthy person” in the Ainu language. The story goes that a gentleman who ate the local tomatoes everyday fell in love with them like a significant other.
Locally grown tomatoes can be purchased at JA Biratori Town, Biratori Hot Springs, Yamanoeki Horoshirikan, and retailers in Biratori Town.
●JA Biratori Town
40-1 Honmachi, Biratori-cho, Saru-gun, Hokkaido
Biratori-grown tomatoes are mainly the large Momotaro variety. These tomatoes are grown in fertile soil with plenty of sunlight until fully ripened and deep red in color, which produces a strong sweetness and densely packed flesh. They are also known for being able to maintain their freshness. Tomatoes grown in Biratori are rich in vitamins A, B1, C and E as well as other minerals, making them great for your health and beauty.
Nishipa no koibito tomatoes are, of course, eaten raw, and also used widely in delicious tomato-flavored processed foods, such as tomato juice, puree, ketchup, jelly, and jam. Another popular local specialty is tomato meat sauce made from locally raised Biratori wagyu beef and local tomatoes.