Tasty Sweet Cherries From Northern Japan: Popular Varieties And How To Enjoy Them

  • Cherries

Sweet Cherries: The Specialty of the Tohoku Region

Glossy red and shiny skin. A subtle sweetness and refreshing acidity that spreads in your mouth. Japanese cherries will captivate you from your first bite.

In Japan, where cherry blossom trees are aplenty, there may be people who believe that there must be a lot of cherries harvested, too. In fact, most of Japan’s cherry trees are for flower viewing purposes, those that produce fruit are mainly cultivated in northern regions like Tohoku.

Selective breeding for producing delicious cherries are actively conducted in Yamagata Prefecture and, as such, several varieties with outstanding sweetness and juiciness are created through this process.

Read on this article to see what are the popular varieties, the cherry harvesting season, and where you can pick delicious cherries. If you’re traveling to Japan, do try tasting the cherries at Japanese farms!

Cherry Harvesting Season: From June to July

Cherries are harvested from June to July. Sato Nishiki and Gassan Nishiki cherries are harvested from late June to early July while Benishuho cherries are harvested around early July. The harvesting season varies depending on both the variety and area.

To check the times when you can enjoy cherry-picking, it would be best to take a look at the website of the farms you want to visit beforehand as harvesting periods are short and will last around one to two weeks for one cherry variety.

Popular Cherry Varieties: Sato Nishiki, Benishuho, Gassan Nishiki

In Japan, the most popular cherry varieties include Sato Nishiki, Benishuho, andGassan Nishiki.

Sato Nishiki

Sato Nishiki cherries have also been called the “Kings of Cherries”. They’re characterized by a ruby red color and juicy flavor.


The cherry variety that has little acidity but is strong in sweetness is the Benishuho cherry. They are exceptionally large in size so they’re also very filling.

Gassan Nishiki

The Gassan Nishiki cherries have lately been popular as a yellow skin variety with a strong, sweet flavor.

How to Pick Delicious Cherries

You can recognize fresh cherries by their firmness and glossy sheen. Cherries with skins that have fully changed color also have a sweetness to them.

In Conclusion

Cherries are delicate fruit that is difficult to preserve for a long time, so we recommend eating them immediately after harvesting. If it’s at a sightseeing farm, then you will be able to eat the cherries you picked yourself on the spot.

If you’ll be visiting Tohoku in early summer, do try these delicious cherries at a farm. The flavors of the cherries, carefully cultivated one by one, will surely become a memorable experience.