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Hokkaido's diverse apple crop cultivated through a long history

Apples were first cultivated in Hokkaido in 1869 when a German trader by the name of Gaerthner began fruit cultivation along with grapes in Nanae Town in Southern Hokkaido. Later in 1873 the Hokkaido Government introduced 75 species of apple seedlings from the United States, marking the start of full-fledged apple cultivation. These varieties included Ralls Janet, Jonathan, and American Summer Pearmain, which would become the foundation for domestically grown apples.
Hokkaido has an ideal climate for growing apples, so the introduced seedlings thrived and were used to develop new varieties and breed various others. Hokkaido-grown apples are noteworthy because of the sheer number of varieties that can be grown here. Today, apples account for one of largest acreage of any fruit grown in Hokkaido and the prefecture stands as the seventh largest in Japan in terms of shipment volume.


Apples are grown throughout Hokkaido, with the main producing areas Yoichi Town, Nanae Town, Sobetsu Town and Niki Town.


■Map / Main producing municipalities

Yoichi Town, Nanae Town, Sobetsu Town, Niki Town, Mashike Town, Fukagawa City, Asahikawa City, Takikawa City, Iwamizawa City

Enjoy an apple picking adventure where you can eat and compare different varieties

Apples in Hokkaido feature vibrant colors and high sugar content because of the large temperature changes between day and night. They are also known for their tightly packed flesh and crunchy texture. The tartness and sweetness differs depending on the variety and the harvest typically is prolonged, making it possible to visit a single growing area and be able to taste various types of apples. There are also many places in the prefecture where growers sell apples directly to the public, providing the opportunity for visitors to travel around in search of the best tasting apple.
Nearly all of the apples grown in Japan are unwaxed, so they can be eaten fresh from the tree after a thorough wash. Apples here have a sticky surface because they use substance to protect the skin of ripe apples. This is an edible substance.

Apples Family

  • Fuji
    Fuji is the most popular variety of apple in Japan. Its flesh is tough, yet juicy. Fuji apples have a sweet taste, a refreshing scent, and less tartness. These apple are harvested at the start of November, which is slightly late compared to other varieties.
  • Tsugaru
    One of Hokkaido's best known varieties, Tsugaru apples are bright red in color and deliver a juicy sweetness. Tsugaru apples grown in Hokkaido have a more vivid color and higher sugar content, making them prized even outside the prefecture. They are harvested from the end of September to the beginning of October.
  • HAC9
    HAC9 apple are a hybrid mix of Fuji and Tsugaru developed by the Agriculture Research Department of the Hokkaido Research Organization. They have a large amount of flesh and offer a juicy taste that blends sweetness and tartness together perfectly. HAC9 apples are harvested from the middle to end of October.


Harvest times differ based on the variety, with the earliest being mid-September and the latest November, and provide a prolonged harvest season for all to enjoy. Apples also are easily stored, so they are shipped to markets up to around March.

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Processed Foods

Apples are used to make juice, jam, apple pie and other sweets, as well as in recent years alcoholic beverages and ciders.