Bareisho (potato) and Loquat Fruit
The coastal areas and islands of the Inland Sea, with an annual average
temperature of 15.6℃ and rainfall of 1,200mm, are ideal for growing vegetables.
The ground of the region consists mostly of rich sandy soil, which is good for
bareisho (potato) production.
Akitsu-cho (Higashihiroshima City) and Takehara City are famous for producing
Farmers plant the autumn bareisho seedlings in late August or early September,
and harvest the potatoes in December. People in the region call this practice
the "one hundred day harvest."
Akitsu, the sole large scale production site of loquat in Hiroshima Prefecture,
is endowed with mildly warm sunshine reflected from the sea.
Akitsu loquat trees had already been planted in the Anei era (1772-1781).
However, they were an ordinary strain, not yet specially bred.
In 1905, "Mogi loquats" were introduced to Akitsu-cho. Chuzo, the younger
brother of Senzaburo Miura (well-known inventor of the "soft water sake
brewing method") brought loquat trees to the region and planted them on a
mountain (now leveled) in the Komatsubara district.
Around the end of the Meiji period, people in Akitsu acquired "Tanaka
loquats" from Gogoshima in Ehime Prefecture. Tanaka loquats now constitute
ninety percent of the loquats grown in Akitsu-cho.
[Left]The bareisho field spreading over the terracing of the Akasaki area (Photograph taken circa 1994)
[Lower right]Loquats of Akitsu are highly rated at markets (Photograph taken circa 1994)
During the Tenpo era (1830-1844), loquat seedlings were brought from China to Nagasaki, thus becoming "Mogi loquats" of Nagasaki. In the mid-Meiji era, "Tanaka loquats" were developed from the Mogi stock.
The word for loquats, biwa, was pronounced over 1,000 years ago as hiwa. In Nagasaki, they call round loquats hiwa, and oval loquats, biwa.