Persimmons of Wakayama in LA  ロスで和歌山の柿

Persimmons of Wakayama in LA  ロスで和歌山の柿

掲載許可を頂いております。Posting with permission.

掲載許可を頂いております。Posting with permission.

While basic necessity of Japanese cooking ingredients are accessible in many U.S. cities, Japanese local gourmets are hard to find.  But this is California!  The opportunities are much greater.

I had a chance to visit a Japanese supermarket in LA area the other day.  As I meandered through the isles, I found a flag with big “Wakyama”.  I grew up in Osaka, a neighboring prefecture just north of Wakayama prefecture.  Although Osaka is the second largest city in Japan, my hometown is at the South East tip of Osaka, in the countryside surrounded by the mountains.  Two tunnels away is already Wakayama.

I approached them and took a slice of persimmon samples.  Clarks told me that this persimmon was grown in the field in Kudoyama, an area at the foot of Kōyasan (Mt Kōya) where the headquarter of one of the Buddhist sect is located.  He told me this is a part of the Wakayama’s oversea export project and he goes around promoting their local delicacies at supermarket all over the world.  Well, I consider Kudoyama local enough for my hometown, sharing the same train line “Nankai Kōya sen.” I must support!

Kudoyama, “九度山”ーNine times mountain — has Jison-in temple worked as a gateway to Kōyasan, built by a monk Kūkai (also known as Kōbō-Daishi) in the 8th century, who founded Shingon Buddhism based in Kōyasan.  Because only males were allowed in Kōyasan at the time, his mother who wanted to see his son’s temple stayed in Jison-in temple.  It is said that Kūkai came down from the mountain to see her at least nine times a month, hence the town’s name “Kudoyama” (though his visits may not have been exactly nine times a month, but as frequently as that).  Jison-in temple is registered as UNESCO World Heritage and also famous for wishing safe child deliveries and cure for breast cancer.

I should also note that Kudoyama is very well known place associated with a samurai from the 16th century, Sanada Nobushige (known as Sanada Yukimura).  He fought and influenced many of the history-changing battles of that time.  In 2016, the NHK TV series about his life helped increase visitors into this small town.

I asked them to choose two persimmons for me.  Seeing their customer so excited, speaking in the same local dialect as theirs, they gave me their persimmon mascot “Kaki tan” and kindly agreed to take pictures together!  

I love these unexpected encounters when my home suddenly feels so close to my heart, especially when I don’t go back to Japan often.  “Please spread the word!” they asked.  So here I am, please try the best persimmons in Japan from Kudoyama!!

For more information:

  • on Wakayama:
  • on Sanada Nobuyuki:




九度山といえば、和歌山県北部に位置し空海が開いた真言宗の総本山である高野山の麓の町。当時高野山は女禁だったため、訪ねてきた空海の母の為に慈尊寺を九度山に建て、月に九度(実際九度という訳ではなく、それだけ頻繁にという意味らしいですが)山から下りてきたといいます。そして、九度山は去年の大河ドラマの主人公 真田「幸村」こと真田信繁のゆかりの地でもある歴史たっぷりの町。戦国時代真っ只中に大活躍し、歴史に多いに影響を与えたお侍さん。久しぶりに想いを馳せました。




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Setsubun with Ninjas  忍者クラスで節分

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