When I think about my life in Japan and what I will remember for years, persimmons always come to mind right away. Persimmons, you ask? While that might seem strange to some, Japanese persimmons, or kaki, now hold a special place in my heart. When I hear the word kaki, I think of vibrant colors, friendship, kindness, and a good time. Kaki is an absolute must-try in Japan in the fall.
This seasonal fruit in Japan is more than just a food; it’s a complete experience. Starting in mid-October, you’ll see this orange sphere-like fruit everywhere in town. The bright fruit is impossible to miss. Whether driving to work or walking around town, you’ll see kaki on trees and drying on the side of people’s houses. For weeks, people stop to take pictures of the fruit. As someone who loves photography, kaki are amazing because of their ability to stand out from a distance. I think it’s beautiful when the persimmon tree is full of fruit and leaves, as well as after the leaves have fallen off and only the fruit remains.
Kaki is a complete social experience as well as being a great item to photograph. Whether you have a tree of your own or not, you’ll be eating persimmons all season long! People have so many persimmons that they try to share them with everyone. Almost every day I receive kaki from my neighbors or coworkers. In my opinion, one of the best parts of fall is sharing a snack of persimmons with friends, family, or coworkers. There’s nothing better than having a great conversation over persimmons. Kaki also makes a great addition to your school lunch or any other meal.
In Japan, there are many ways to eat kaki. People can enjoy them fresh raw, or dried. My favorite type is dried persimmons or hoshigaki. While at first a strange sight, Japanese people hang lines of persimmons from the side of their houses, buildings, or restaurants to allow them to dry. Once ready, the natural sugars make the kaki a sweet candy-like fruit that you can’t stop eating. You just want to continue to eat these delicious fruits and even when you try to stop, it’s impossible to do so. From many Japanese locals, I’ve heard that eating kaki is a good way to prevent a hangover when drinking. Why not give it a try next time you have a drink?
While in Japan, you must experience all that persimmons have to offer. The great taste and social aspects are uniquely Japanese and is a custom that I have grown to love.