What are Japanese Peaches?

What are Japanese Peaches?

Nov 11, 2022 Tags 

Momo (桃, or もも, peaches) from Japan are in fact a gem and unique to this country. What makes Japanese peaches unique is that they are enormous, have white flesh, are sweet, fragrant, and faultless.

Peaches in Japan are on an entirely different level. They are individually wrapped in foam cups at the grocery store to prevent bruising, which is the first thing you'll notice. They can be as large as a grapefruit, which will make them stand out for their size. You'll note that after their skin is removed, their flesh typically has a more white hue than a yellow or pink one. When you bite into a peach, you'll find that Japanese peaches have more sugar than western types.

The result is a fruit that is exquisite, sumptuous, juicy, sweet, and aesthetically stunning. Oh, and the sticker shock is another issue. You'll look twice when you pay for this priceless specimen. The price of a single Japanese peach ranges from 200 yen (about $1.50) to 1000 yen (around $7.60). But we assure you that they are totally worthwhile.


Different types of Japanese peaches


Japanese Fukushima Peaches


The scientific name for the peach is Prunus persica. Prunus persica types are frequently distinguished by their color: those with yellow flesh and those with white flesh. Asian nations favor white peaches, whereas Western nations preferred the yellow type. Peaches can also be categorized according to their stone or pit.

Clingstone peaches have pits that adhere to the flesh, while freestone peaches have pits that easily separate from the flesh. Freestones are preferred by some since they need less effort to prepare. Freestones typically come in white or light pink hues. Contrarily, clingstones are softer, sweeter, and more juicy. They typically have a golden hue and a more acidic flavor. They work well in desserts like jams and jellies.

The current queen of freestone peaches is the Okayama, Japan-grown Shimizu (Hakuto) White Peach. Only a few weeks towards the close of July and beginning of August are when the Shimizu White peach is in season The delicate texture hiding behind that pink-whitish flesh is a really sweet delight, and always makes for a good gift.


How did peaches become popular in Japan?


Japanese Peach Farmer


Peaches are said to have originated in China and are associated with longevity and the warding off of evil spirits in that region of the world. The peach has a long history in Japan as well; it is mentioned in a fable found in the Kojiki, which dates back to 712 and is the country's oldest historical document still in existence. In the fable, the creator deity Izanagi-no-Mikoto successfully fends off his assailants by throwing three peaches at them.

Japanese people during the Edo period were more enamored of peach blossoms than the fruit. It wasn't much of anything to get excited about; it was tough and acidic. Okayama first received the Shanghai Honey peach in 1875, during the Meiji era, when it was transported from China. Researchers experimented with the Shanghai Honey peach in the late 1800s until they developed the Shimizu Hakuto or White peach. From there, many more scrumptious hybrids were created and are still around now.

The best white peach variety produced in Okayama is thought to be the Shimizu Hakuto. The Shimizu was accidentally discovered in 1932, and because of its highly acclaimed sweet flavor and smell as well as its delicate texture, it has earned the moniker "the ultimate peach." It has occasionally been sold for as much as 30,000 yen for a box of five.


Shimizu Hakuto Peach


Peaches are a crop that is heavily regulated in Japan, where people take great pride in them. Peaches prefer warm climates, and Central Japan is the best region in Japan for growing them. In greenhouses, where they receive a lot of specialized care and supervision, peaches begin their lives. The fruits are all bagged one by one, and usually kept separate to ensure that they do not get damaged. They are very delicate and easy to get bruised. If that happens, the fruit has to be eaten right away, or will go bad in a day. All the peaches are ranked into one to four grades, from inferior quality to superior quality. They all get an individual foam cushion to protect them until the place where they'll be sold.  


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Japanese Peach-flavored snacks


Japanese Peach-Flavored Snacks


In Japan, peaches are frequently eaten fresh, peeled, and sliced during the summer. However, due to its limited growing season, people had to devise ways to preserve their peachy deliciousness throughout the year. In the event that fresh momo isn't available or if you're hungry of dessert, try these methods for enjoying the renowned dish:


  1. Fujiya Nectar Peach Mochi: Prepare to savor a mouthwatering peach jelly and marshmallow filling as you bite into this soft, chewy mochi. The flavor of mochi, which is made from sticky rice flour, complements the sweet and sour peach flavor remarkably well. Mochi are classic Japanese sweets, but the addition of peaches gives them a fresh feel.
  2. Sakupuff Chocolate Kororon Momotaro: Peach This puffed biscuit's packaging features a content Momotaro and his three friends. The biscuit itself has a wonderful layer of white chocolate peach coating and is light and crunchy. Enjoy this adorable tribute to Momotaro created in Okayama, the land of the peach!
  3. Okayama White Peach Castella: Portuguese missionaries who arrived in Japan in the 16th century brought Castella, a cake, with them. With this beautifully moist and spongy cake that is infused with the aroma of Okayama peaches throughout, Japan adopted the original "castle bread" recipe and adapted it to its own tastes.
  4. Yamanishi White Peach Puré Gummy Premium: If you're craving candy, these peach gummies won't let you down! They have a pleasant sweet-sour balance and are soft and chewy with a dusting of tangy sugar crystals. The white peach jelly in the middle of the gummy is the epitome of perfection and pays homage to Yamanishi, one of the top peach-growing regions.
  5. Japanese Peach-Flavored Fanta: truly unique to Japan and delightfully refreshing! You can find more original Japanese Fanta flavors in our dedicated article here!
  6. Xylitol Peach-flavored candy: very popular for its convenience, always available for a refreshing moment.


You are familiar with the distinction between pudding and pot de crème, right? The disparity between what you may imagine when you hear the word "jelly" and what this actually is is comparable to that. These fashionable jellies are crafted by top-notch artisanal crafters using peach purée reductions that have been skillfully prepared from the renowned Shimizu Hakuto White Peach. Despite being very stylish, they also make for a wonderful, easy, refreshing treat on a hot day.


Starbucks Japan Peach Frappuccino


Starbucks Japan Peach Frappuccino


Peaches are so popular, you can also enjoy them as a drink, and the most popular might be the Frappuccino from Starbucks: only available seasonally.

The GO Peach Frappuccino® is stuffed with the fruit that bears its name, making it taste just like a delicious, full peach. Enjoy a dish that combines fresh peach pieces, puree, and sauce while preserving the fruit's distinctively flavorful originality.


Japanese Peaches in traditional culture: the Legend of Momotaro


Japanese Folktale Momotaro


Japanese peaches are legends in their own right. A folktale known as Momotaro, or "Peach Boy," dates back at least 400 years to the beginning of the Edo era (1603-1867). The most popular version of the tale states that an elderly woman was washing clothes beside a river when she noticed a huge peach drifting by. When she and her husband opened it at home using a knife, little Momotaro emerged.

Momotaro developed into a powerful and intelligent child who offered to go fight some demon adversaries (oni). He made friends with a dog, a monkey, and a pheasant on his journey to the remote island of the oni, and they agreed to work with him in exchange for food. They had exciting adventures, defeated the hated foes, and returned home victorious, having taken the great ogre and all of his possessions.

Like Momotaro, who was a strong, brave, kind, generous, guarding, and devoted son, the Japanese peach is a valued fruit that encapsulates all the positive traits into one ideal sphere.


Want to try some peach-flavored treats at home? Why not subscribe to ZenPop's Japanese snack subscription box if these goodies tickle your interest? You'll be amazed each month by a brand-new selection of Japanese snacks. 


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