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[Feature] Now is the season! ! 2020 Yamagata cherry information!


Yamagata is almost synonymous with “cherries.”

Yamagata Prefecture accounts for 80% of domestic cherry production.

In June, we will deliver the latest information about cherries in season.

*The 2020 cherry season has ended. 
 Please enjoy it again next year.

1. Types of cherries


It is said that there are about 1,500 varieties of cherries in the world, and of those about 30 are cultivated in Japan.
Among them, “Sato Nishiki” boasts overwhelming popularity and fame.

The balance of sweetness and sourness is exquisite, a delicious taste that everyone will enjoy.

In addition, recently, we can see many varieties such as “Beni Shuho” and “Gassan Nishiki” at stores.
BUt varieties other than Sato Nishiki are not common.

Here are five recommended varieties that you should definitely try, including rare ones.

・ Sato Nishiki



It is a variety created by crossing “Ogyoku” and “Napoleon” cherries in 1912.
It is an epoch-making variety in which cherries, which had been mainly for processing until then, were now made to be eaten raw.
It is known as royalty in the cherry world for its high sugar content and an exquisite sour taste that captivates the eater.

However, Sato Nishiki also has its drawbacks.
The fruit is soft and does not last long.
Please eat Sato Nishiki cherries as soon as possible to enjoy them when they are at their best.

[Harvest time] Mid-late June
[Sweetness] 14 to 18 degrees, sometimes over 20 degrees

・​ Beni Shuho



Benihuho is a late variety that is harvested about two weeks later than Sato Nishiki.
It is a product of a mixture of “Sato Nishiki” and “Tenka Nishiki”, and is characterized by a hard pulp and high sugar content.

The fruit is hard so it has a long shelf life, and it is large so has great texture
It is rapidly growing as a popular variety that replaces Sato Nishiki.

[Harvest time] Late June to early July
[Sweetness] 18 to 21 degrees

・ Gassan Nishiki



Gassan Nishiki is characterized by yellow fruits.
Originally, it is a variety that was born in Dalian, China.
It is characterized by large fruits and sweetness, and almost no sourness is felt.

They are not easily found for sale but have become more common in Yamagata.
Please try them if you find some!

[Harvest time] Mid June to mid July
[Sweetness] 20 degrees or more

・​ Taisho Nishiki



Taisho Nishiki cherries are hard and have a high sugar content, so they have excellent.
In addition, since it is a late-life variety that is harvested from early to mid July, you can enjoy them even after the Sato Nishiki harvesting period is over.
You won’t see them in stores so much so make sure to try them if you have the occasion to go pick them in orchards or order them online.

[Harvest time] Early July to mid July
[Sweetness] 20 degrees or more

・​ Beni Sayaka


Beni Sayaka is a variety that has been selected and grown by crossing “Sato Nishiki” and “Seneca” cherries.
Since it is an early variety, it will line up in stores in early June.
The color changes from dark red to purple black, and the darker the color, the higher the sugar content.

With a sweetness of around 15 degrees, it has a good balance with acidity and is suitable for processed foods such as jams but also as eaten raw.
In Yamagata, this is a variety that can be purchased at supermarkets and roadside stations.

[Harvest time] Early June to mid June
[Sweetness] 14 to 19 degrees



2. How to distinguish and preserve delicious cherries (Sato Nishiki)

·How to distinguish

Cherry are non-climacteric, meaning they do not over-ripe.
Tomatoes are harvested while they are green, and when they are distributed and lined up in stores, they gradually become red.

Since cherries do not reach a climacteric stage, they are harvested when ripe and red.
Please keep this in mind first.


Delicious “cherries” are fresh!
Those that have not been harvested for a long time will be more delicious.
That said, eating cherry-picking is the most delicious…
It’s difficult to do so, so here are three points to choose from at the store.

① Firm cherry
② Fully red with almost no discoloring
③ Green stem

On the other hand, if the skin is transparent, soft, and the branches turn brown, it has been a long time since the harvest.
In addition, since it does not ripen, the sugar content of yellow ones is low.

・Are cherries better stored at room temperature or refrigerated?

If you buy them at the supermarket, most of them are sold at room temperature.
There are two ways to purchase by mail order, at normal temperature or refrigerated.

First of all, cherries are not suitable for refrigerated storage.
But when it comes to delivery, to remote locations, it is best to refrigerate them than to expose them to high temperatures.

First of all, when you buy (or receive) cherries, their storage method changes depending on whether they are at normal temperature or refrigerated, so let’s check.

[Store at room temperature]
​ If you bought the cherries at room temperature, it is recommended to store them in a cool room and chill them with ice water or put them in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes just before eating them.

Be careful not to over cool the cherries as they will lose flavor!
If you can’t eat all, wrap them in newspaper and store them in a cool and dark place.

[Keep refrigerated ]
​ It is best to chill the cherries in the refrigerator before eating them at room temperature but keeping them too long in it will result in loss of flavor. What should I do if the cherries arrive in a refrigerated package?

Since cherries are sensitive to temperature changes, just because they are stored at room temperature does not mean that they will not lose some of their flavor.

When you receive cherries in a refrigerated package, store them in the vegetable compartment of your refrigerator.
It is better suited to stored them since the temperature and humidity in the vegetable compartment are higher than in the refrigerator’s main compartment.

Cherries are very delicate fruits.
Their taste will change depending on the storage method, so please make sure to refer to the information provided here.

・How long is their shelf life?

Anyway, the best way is to eat them early.
Make sure to eat them within 2 days if you keep them at room temperature and within 2~3 days when kept in the refrigerator.

3. Reasons for high prices

To put it simply, this work takes a lot of time!

Throughout the year, detailed manual work that only people can do continues, especially during the harvest season.

Harvesting work starts from around 4:00 in the early morning, when cherries are selected by size and color before been shipped.
This is a decisive time for cherries as they do not have a long shelf life.



Among them, packing the cherries in boxes requires trained skills.

There are different ways of shipping and hand-packing is the most tedious as cherries are individually selected and packed.

Trained skills are required to tightly pack the cherries in the their container like a jewelry box.

Because cherries are delicate, they are carefully grown and delivered to customers.
This is why they are expensive.



4. Expected big game rookie "Yamagata Benio"


A new variety called “Yamagata Benio” will be available in 2023.

Anyway, the size of the fruits is eye-catching. The 3L to 4L cherries are larger than a 500-yen coin, a diameter of about 3 cm.

They look really delicious!

It has a sweetness grade over 20, which is as sweet as Sato Nishiki, and modest sourness.

In addition, their outside is hard, making them last longer, a good thing for shipping them overseas.

I want to eat some soon!

5. Cherry-picking information for 2020

The real pleasure of cherry-picking is that you can eat the cherries in their freshest and most delicious condition.
And you can eat varieties that are not on the market so much, so it’s a great deal.

However, many orchards are closed this year.

If you are looking forward to eating cherries every year, we would be grateful if you could support the orchards through mail-order sales.

However, some orchards are open while implementing COVID-19 infection prevention measures, so I hope you can fully enjoy the early summer of Yamagata if you come.

We have compiled a summary of the orchard opening situation in Yamagata City, Kaminoyama City, and Tendo City. Please use this information if you want to go cherry picking
Opened orchards will have COVID-19 preventive measures in place.

Please contact each orchard for the latest information as it may change depending on the situation.


*​ ​○ Orchard
​ ​Click the underlined part to link to detailed information.


・Yamagata City

Name Phone & Address Cherry picking
Furusato Sakuranbo Orchard Osone 023-643-4377
901-1 Kamisorida, Yamagata City
Sakuranbo-no-Yamaya Orchard 023-663-1234
2162-8 Nakanome Akasaka, Yamagata City
Pal Tourism Orchard 023-682-9939
525-3 Senjudo, Yamagata City
Kisaburo Sakuranbo-gari Orchard 023-688-5885
319-1 Kurosawa, Yamagata City
Yamadera Tourism Orchard 023-695-2443
1973-1258 Yamadera, Yamagata City
Closed​ (Sales 〇)
Ogasawara Orchard 023-695-2246
1973-516 Yamadera, Yamagata City
Scheduled to open

・ Kaminoyama City

Name Phone & Address Cherry picking
Saito Tourism Orchard 023-674-2278
Mikami Han, Kaminoyama City
Kawaguchi Tourism Orchard 023-674-2485
41 Minamizawa, Kaminoyama City
Opening (June 13~)
Takahashi Fruit Land 023-673-4706
185 Amida, Kaminoyama City
Yamagata Cherry Land 023-674-2345
1241 Mikami, Kaminoyama City
Opening (June 13~)
Makino Tourism Fruit Garden 023-674-3305
2020 Makino Nakahara, Kaminoyama City
Fruits Land Yamagata Orchard 023-674-2562
1241-194 Mikami Handoro, Kaminoyama City
Opening (June 13~)
Kimura Tourism Orchard 023-674-2831
1239-5 Minamizawa, Kaminoyama City
Opening (June 13~)
Himawari Farm 023-674-3443
448 Minamizawa, Kaminoyama City
Opening (June 13~)
Fruit Paradise Ubafu-tokoro 023-674-2921
<1377-7 Minazawa Mizumuzawa, Kaminoyama City

・Tendo City

Name Phone & Address Cherry picking
Ohsyo Orchard 023-657-3211
1303 Kawarago, Tendo City
Yamari Orchard 023-657-3172
1307 Kawarago, Tendo City
Furusato Tourism Orchard 023-656-2622
1640 Kawarago, Tendo City
Opening (June 13 to July 5)
Nakano Tourism Orchard 023-656-2775
1784-5 Kawarago, Tendo City
Katsuo Yahagi 023-656-2418
1728 Kawarago, Tendo City
Closed​ (Sales 〇)
Kaihoko Farm 023-656-2276
2860-2 Kawarago, Tendo City
Opening (June 15 to July 5)
Tomio Nakano 023-656-2837
1300 Kawarago, Tendo CIty
Closed​ (Sales 〇)
Marutan Orchard 023-656-2905
1306 Kawarago, Tendo City
Opening (June 13 to July 10)
Kanehachi Moriya Orchard 023-657-3008
1448-3 Kawarago, Tendo City
Closed​ (Sales 〇)

Konno Tourism Orchard 023-654-0187
7-7-8 Kami-Oginodo, Tendo City
Opening (June 13 to July 10)
Hanagasa Orchard 023-653-7667
820 Kami-Oginodo, Tendo City
Opening (June 13 to July 5)
Original Tendo Tourism Orchard 023-654-1558
807 Kami-Oginodo, Tendo City
Takayanagi Orchard 023-653-7666
226 Senfu Oginodo, Tendo City
Closed​ (Sales 〇)
Omachi Sakuranbo Orchard 023-654-4110
1880 Omachi, Tendo City
Closed​ (Sales 〇)
Hirata Farm 0237-47-1193
2123 Mukaihara, Tendo City
Opening (June 10 to July 10)

6. Summary

This year, there are many orchards were not open for cherry-picking as it was an unusual situation due to COVID-19.

The cherries in the orchards grew quickly to show their cute red faces.

I would be very happy if you could support cherry farmers by mail order this year.

And next year, I hope you can fully enjoy cherry-picking and hot springs in Yamagata.

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