December 16, 2018

JAPAN TRAVEL: Hirosaki City Apple Park Lets You Discover the Largest Apple Producers in Japan

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  • JAPAN TRAVEL: Hirosaki City Apple Park Lets You Discover the Largest Apple Producers in Japan
  • In the Philippines, the most popular apple variety is Fuji Apple. This variety dominates fruit stands, becoming a staple fruit on every dining table. The apples’ sweetness, rosy color and smooth texture, and crisp make for a perfect snack and ingredient to food. However, not a lot of people know that this variety came from Japan.

    The view of the Hirosaki City Apple Park with Mt. Iwaki as the backdrop /IMAGE Hirosaki City International Tourism Division

    Last April, we had the opportunity to visit Hirosaki in Aomori Prefecture, the city recognized as the largest apple producer in Japan. We toured Hirosaki City Apple Park, an apple-themed park that’s worth a detour for tourists of all ages.

    The Hirosaki City Apple Park

    The entrance to Hirosaki City Apple Park

    The apple journey starts right at the farm, which is conveniently located a few steps away from the entrance. Although the park is open all year round, there are certain times you should know if you’re planning to visit. If you’re planning to visit in May, this is the pollination period where you can see apple flowers about to bloom. But if you’re there for the fruits, visit from August to November for the harvest time, the perfect time to pick apples and taste them. A limit of 2 kg per person which costs ¥200 per kilo is required per person so everyone may experience this exciting fruit-picking activity.

    Apple flowers in May

    Families will surely enjoy this fruit-picking activity in the Hirosaki City Apple Park! /IMAGE Hirosaki City International Tourism Division

    The park grows about 1,200 trees in 65 different varieties so you can be sure that you can try Japan’s best apples in its own home.

    Leisure Grounds

     A short climb to this hill will give you a panoramic view of the park

    If you want a panoramic view of the vast apple park, the leisure grounds offer a great spot to see the whole park. Perfect for picture-taking, this spot gives you a breathtaking view of the Hakkoda Mountains, Mt. Iwaki, and other surrounding natural attractions. You can also find the Ringo-Oiwake Monument near the viewpoint.

    Ringo no ie

    Ringo no ie houses the Apple House and Souvenir Shop

    In this facility inside Hirosaki City Apple Park is where you’ll find the by-products of the park. It’ the destination of the park you go to for shopping, learning, and eating.

    Souvenirs of all sorts can be found here!

    Try these huge and nutritious apples when in Hirosaki

    Over a thousand apple products are found in this shopping area: from houseware, stationeries, cosmetics, souvenir items, to food products such as jams, vinegar, juices, freshly-picked fruits.

    Apple House

    Apple Katsu with Iga Menchi (squid croquette)

    The apple park experience wouldn’t be complete without the taste experience. A visit to Ringo no ie’s in-house restaurant called Apple House will introduce you to a unique selection of dishes where apples are the main ingredient. Although it tastes a bit unusual at first bite, you’ll find their apple-filled tonkatsu slices tasteful as it gives a slightly fruity taste to the crispy pork cutlet. Their ramen with apples is surprisingly good as well!

    Also read: JAPAN TRAVEL: Hirosaki Castle and Park in Aomori: Springtime’s Most Beautiful Cherry Blossom Destination

    Hirosaki Cider Kobo Kimori

    Kimori Cidres are available in different flavors

    One of the highlights in the Hirosaki Apple Farm is this local brewery that produces apple beverages called Kimori Cidre. The establishment was named Kimori due to the Japanese way of thanksgiving on the farm, by leaving one fruit hanging after the harvest season. The act is called “kimori,” which means tree protecting.

    Kaz Sawamura and Robi Domingo try the Kimori Cidre in Hirosaki

    The brewery produces special beverages made from a natural fermentation process. Having a non-filtration process, the beverage is characterized by its unrefined texture, with just the right amount of sweetness and acidity. Farmers harvest and create Kimori ciders at the farm only, which ensures the freshness of the product.

    Also read: JAPAN TRAVEL: Hirosaki Catholic Church in Aomori Prefecture

    Apart from those mentioned above, other available amenities in the Hirosaki Apple Park are the Apple Classroom Corner where everyone can learn about the history and production of apples. There’s also the Apple Experience Corner where one can play games all while learning about apples.

    Visit Hirosaki City Apple Park and explore the apple capital of Japan.

    How to go to Hirosaki Apple Park:

    Via Kounan Bus: JR Hirosaki Bus Terminal – Tokiwazaka-Iriguchi-5-minute walk to the Apple Park
    Via Tohoku Jidosha-do: Oowani Hirosaki Interchange – Apple Park

    Tips:

    •         30-minute guided tours are available by reservation. (Japanese only)
    •         Apple experience operations for the year may vary, so please take note of these before visiting

    DETAILS

    Address: 036-8262 Shimizu-Tomita, Terasawa 125, Hirosaki City
    TEL: 0172-36-7439
    Website: http://www.hi-it.jp/~ringo-kouen/
    Email: ringo-kouen@hi-it.jp
    Operating Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
    Closed: December 29 to January 3
    Ticket: Free admission


    This first appeared in Philippine Primer magazine’s December 2018 issue.
    Written by Jastine Valeriano

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