Plum Blossoms, Minabe, Wakayama, Nanko Ume
Although there may be many chances to try ume 梅 on a visit to Japan, you cannot talk about the essence of Japanese ume without trying the Nanko Ume 南高梅 in Wakayama Prefecture. Ume, or Japanese plum, is absolutely essential to the food culture of Japan. The harvested plums are processed primarily into umeboshi 梅干 (pickled plums) and umeshu plum wine 梅酒. Ume is used in a wide variety of food products including juices, jams and teas.
The top producer of this vital Japanese fruit is Wakayama Prefecture. And within the many varieties of ume produced in the region, the Nanko Ume is by far the most popular. Nanko Ume have especially large fruit with rich, soft pulp, offering excellent taste and texture.
Today, at 20,000 tons per year, Nanko Ume account for over 70 percent of the Minabe Ume harvest, and roughly 17 percent of the national share. Overall, Wakayama Prefecture produces roughly 67,000 tons of ume annually, accounting for some 60 percent of the national harvest.
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