The most famous local product of Aomori prefecture is the apple. Aomori is well known for being the biggest apple producer in Japan. About half of all apples grown in the entire country are to be found in this prefecture. We can really say that Aomori = apple. The fruit picking season starts around August every year. If you visit Aomori in the spring for the sakura and first green colors, you can also find some local gift products which use one whole apple.
The bright red apple has plenty of good effects on the body
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away”. Improving the blood circulation, decreasing the cholesterol, preventing tooth cavities, relieving constipation and recovering from exhaustion are all well-known health effects of apples, but there are also scientific reports suggesting that the fruit is good for women’s skin. As known from ancient times, the apple combines health and beauty together.
Aomori prefecture produces half of Japan’s apples. Travelling in Aomori gives you many opportunities to try fresh apples or products such as juices and sweets. I will now introduce some recommended gifts which use a whole apple packed inside.
A whole apple inside the "Ki ni naru Ringo" pie
“Ki ni naru Ringo” is a famous brand of pies which use a whole baked Aomori apple inside. There is a great attention to the ingredients! The apple inside has not been baked too long, but is instead dipped into a syrup which preserves its original crunchy taste within the sweet and sour pie. You can eat it whole as it is, or cut it into pieces. The pie is delicious even chilled, but if you warm it up in the oven the taste inside your mouth will definitely bring a smile to your face.
Because of its attractive look, this pie has become popular and has been even presented on TV as a famous product of Aomori. You will definitely make happy the one you give this gift to. It is sold at the shinkansen stations and most souvenir shops in Aomori.
Ki ni naru ringo Price: 700 JPY (tax included) Best before: about 45 days Producer: RAGUENEAU Sasaki Inc.
If you find it buy right away! Real apple juice
Many households in Aomori prefecture buy whole packages of 100% apple juice. The most popular brand is “Shiny Apple Juice”. There are many different types, so it is worth comparing them in order to find one’s preferred juice.
While there are many delicious apple juices in Aomori, some are must-buy when you find them. One such product is JA Aoren’s “Kibo no shizuku” known for its rich taste. What is truly great about it is that it consists of 100% genuine apple juice. Usually even 100% juices include antioxidants (vitamin C), but this one is bottled in a hermetically closed space and therefore has nothing added, just 100% pure natural juice. The same taste of apple as when the juice was produced.
This product was first released in 2008, when many apple farms suffered great damages from hail and bad weather. Only completely ripe apples with no bruises are used for the juice. The hopes for recovery and support towards the local farmers were included in the making of the product. Of course, not only good thoughts, but also a good taste is included too. Originally it was supposed to be a limited edition for that particular year, but due to high demands by the consumers it was decided that the sale will continue.
Kibo no shizuku Price: 360 JPY per 1-liter bottle Note: Usually sold in a package of 6 bottles for 2040 JPY. Single bottles can be purchased at souvenir shops and supermarkets. Best before: 1 year Producer: JA Aoren
Eat as you like! Dry apples can be enjoyed in many different ways
“Soft Ringo” has a peculiar puffy taste. It is a confectionary made of a frozen dried apple cut into 1-cm thick slices. Not as crispy as fried apple chips, but rather fresh and soft. Its unique apple taste envelops your mouth upon trying it. The softness complements the simplicity and produces a feeling of happiness. Apart from apple, the only other ingredient used is salt as an antioxidant. This sweet is perfect for little children. Usually apple gifts are considered to be big and heavy, but “Soft Ringo” is light and easy to carry.
There are many different way to eat “Soft Ringo”. You can dip it into apple juice, freeze it and make apple sherbet. You can cut the slices into pieces and cook with rice to make fragrant apple rice. Or you can use it as a topping for yoghurt or salads. Delicious no matter how you consume.
Soft Ringo Price: 130 JPY per one package of 2 slices (tax not included), or 400 JPY per 3 packages of 6 slices (tax not included) Best before: 5 months Producer: Hatoya
Aomori’s seasonal attraction is the blossoming apple tries in May
By the way, do you know what kind of flowers the apple tree has? They are really gentle and pure white. When the sakura season ends after the Golden Week, the apple trees in the endless apple farms of Tsugaru Plains start to blossom one after another. The view of the apple tree flowers against Iwakisan mountain whose top is still covered in snow is spectacular.
Every year the Hirosaki Apple Flower Festival is held in the apple park of Hirosaki, the city in Aomori where most apple trees are grown. Enjoy the spring in Tsugaru which is somewhat different and not only limited to watching sakura trees.
Hirosaki Apple Flower Festival May 6-18, 2014 Many events including evening light-up and sale of giant apple pies
In this article I introduced some gifts which use whole Aomori apples. Indeed, they are processed goods, but all of them are specially produced and preserve the original taste of apples. I selected 3 particular products which give you the opportunity to consume one whole apple taken straight from the fields of Aomori. These products can be enjoyed as local souvenirs both during and outside of the apple season. Be sure to take the taste and fresh fragrance of the sour sweet apples back to your home or work. I’d be happy if this article gave you hints for choosing your gifts from your Aomori trip.