Tropical Japan - Okinawan Fruits
Okinawa located around 640km south of the rest of Japan, is a transformation to a subtropical climate. Therefore, Okinawa is a great place to grow tropical fruits!
The rainy season starts in late May, but the humidity level goes up in early spring, making it relatively humid. Summer is long and hot, temperatures are around 25-33°C. During winter months, temperatures often fluctuate between 13-20°C.
Okinawa is famous of it’s pineapples and much of it is shipped to the Japanese main island, Honshu. The pineapple season is from June to August. Okinawan pineapple is absolutely delicious! Many of you must have seen the yellow and juicy pineapples but sometimes white pineapples are also available. These can be bought relatively cheaply in Okinawa, especially if they are starting to get some colour. *Psst! If you are interested to see how the pineapples grow, I recommend to you to visit Pineapple park, at Nago. It’s a fun place and you can also eat pineapple there!
Dragon fruit is harvested from July to September, and is sometimes available at other times of the year too (although, like any other fruits during off season, they become more pricey). The flesh of the fruit can be white or lovely lovely pink! However, I cannot give you any tips on how to distinguish the colour of the flesh from the outside to get the best one for yourself. But in my experience, in case it happens to be red, go for it.
Okinawan mango is such a luxury fruit! It is pricey too and often packed in a fancy packaging, well protected and ready to be send or given as a present. The short season for mango is from July to August. Just peel, slice and they are ready to eat!
Shiikwaasaa is an Okinawan origin, tiny citrus fruit. From the outside it is green, but has more of a yellow flesh. It is bitter, such as lemon, and is often used in drinks. It is considered to be really healthy! The Shiikwaasaa season is quite long, from July until November.
Papaya season is from June to September. It is also considered to be really healthy. However, in Okinawa, papaya is also used for cooking purposes.
Passion fruit is harvested from May to August. It has a hard cover, which needs to be cut open with a knife. Inside of it can be scooped with a fork or spoon. It is really juicy. Loaded with good ingredients, it is recommended as a smoothie or juice! Passion fruit is also a popular gift and comes with a nice packaging or in attractive boxes at times.
Before I forget, I would like to mention about the Okinawan bananas, which are super sweet! It is often tiny in size, but really yummy.
All these lovely fruits can be eaten in an ice-cream parfait or other types of desserts. Popular dessert during summer is Fruit parfait. It is nice to freshen up with it in the Okinawa heat!
Most of these fruits are available in Okinawan farmers market located not far from Naha, in the south and in nearby villages/cities such as Yomitan. Many farmer’s markets in Nago area too have them aplenty. These places give you the best price alternative to the Naha market. Sometimes fruits are available in regular supermarkets too. You can also experience how the fruits grow and purchase fruits at the Okinawa Fruits Land in Nago too.
I personally recommend you to try all these fruits! It is amazing that many such tropical fruits can be produced in Japan. Since the season is short, these fruits are in high demand! So next time you visit Okinawa don't miss to treat your tastebuds to the Okinawan tropical fruits.