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Agriculture, Forestry and Marine Products

Uji tea


 From a historical viewpoint, Kansai has long been a leading agricultural district. The area around Uji City in Kyoto Prefecture has a long history of traditional tea cultivation and the high quality of the green tea produced at the Uji tea plantations is famous nationwide. Tea cultivation began in Uji in the Kamakura Period (12th - 14th centuries), and as Chado (Japanese tea ceremony) flourished in the Muromachi Period (14th - 16th centuries), the Uji tea plantations grew ever the more prosperous, with the support and protection of the shogunate government and the local fief. Even today, the position of Uji tea as a leader in the industry remains firm.

 Paddy rice production is very high in Hyogo, Shiga, Mie, and Fukui prefectures, and Fukui is especially famous as the birthplace of the famous Koshihikari rice brand. A large volume of soybean is produced in Shiga, Mie, and Hyogo prefectures, and in Kansai, Tokushima stands out for its production of sweet potatoes. In regard to fruit, Wakayama Prefecture boasts the highest production of tangerines nationwide, and along with Nara Prefecture, it has a very high share of the national production of Japanese persimmons. Tottori Prefecture has the highest production in Japan of the Nijisseiki Pear, known as the "King of Pears." In regard to vegetables, the harvest of carrots in Tokushima Prefecture and the harvest of onions in Hyogo Prefecture enjoy a top rank nationwide.
 Recently, there has been an increase in participation-type programs conducted at rest and recreation facilities at a variety of locations in Kansai designed to provide city dwellers with the opportunity to experience agricultural activities in the midst of nature. There has also been a movement to vitalize the traditional vegetable products etc., of the local districts. The quality and taste of specialty products in the various districts of Kansai have been received exceptionally well nationwide, drawing tourist visitors from all over the country. Among others, these products include the Naruto Kintoki (sweet potatoes) (Tokushima), Tanba Kuromame (black soybeans) (Hyogo), Kishu Ume (Japanese apricots) (Wakayama), Awaji onions, Tokushima Sudachi (a small citrus fruit), and Tottori Sakyu Rakkyo (shallots).

The forestry industry


 Except for Osaka Prefecture, more than half of each of the prefectures in Kansai is covered by forests or fields, and the mountainous Kii district in Wakayama is well known as a rich forestry asset. Especially, in Wakayama and Nara prefectures, about 80% of the total surface area is covered by forests or fields, and Wakayama Prefecture has long been known as Ki-no-Kuni (a play on words in Japanese, as the pronunciation of the Chinese character "Ki" in the old name for the district, Ki-no-Kuni (literally, the Ki Country) is the same as that of a different character meaning "wood"). Blessed with a mild, warm climate with lots of rain, Wakayama produces conifers such as Japanese cedar, Japanese cypress, red pine, black pine, fir, and Japanese hemlock. The Yoshino Japanese cedars of the Yoshino district in Nara Prefecture are also famous, and these trees are employed to produce high-quality building material for houses.

 In Kyoto Prefecture, the forestry industry has largely developed in the Tamba plateau region, where rainfall is abundant. Kitayama cedars from the northern part of Kyoto are well known in the form of polished logs, another high-quality building material.
 Recently, emphasis has been placed on the maintenance and preservation of the natural forest environment, and the Owase cedars in Mie Prefecture were the first in Japan to be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international organization that functions to guarantee the preservation of forests and the quality of forestry products.

A stock farm

■ Livestock

  Recently, the severity of the domestic environment in the livestock industry has attracted attention due to increases in the importation of beef produced in foreign markets, etc., but the quality of the beef and chicken produced in Kansai has been highly praised. Especially, the Tajima brand of beef produced in the Tajima district and the Kobe Beef brand from the Kobe district of Hyogo Prefecture, as well as the Matsusaka Beef from Mie Prefecture, the Omi Beef from Shiga Prefecture, and the Tottori Wagyu Beef from Tottori Prefecture are famous nationwide.

 In addition, there are a variety of types of chicken farms in each of the districts in Kansai, where both new and traditional types of chicken are raised. The Awaodori Chicken brand, named after the lively movement of the energetic Awaodori Festival dance in Tokushima Prefecture, is known for its deep flavor, and it is exported to other regions of the country.

The fishing industry

■Marine Products

 The fishing grounds in Kansai are roughly categorized into the coastal sea areas of Osaka Bay, the Pacific Ocean, the Sea of Japan, and the inland freshwaters, such as lakes and rivers. The catch of flatfish and flounder and the volume of cultured laver (seaweed) from the coastal sea areas of Osaka Bay are high, compared with other areas nationwide, and the sea bream and octopus caught in the waters off Akashi are famous.


 Facing the Pacific Ocean, the winding coast of Wakayama stretches more than 600 km, and it has many excellent fishing grounds, producing a main catch of tuna, horse mackerel, as well as bonito and flying fish riding the Kuroshio Current (Japan Current). The fishing industry is prosperous in Mie Prefecture as well, with significant exports of spiny lobster and nori (seaweed) to Osaka, Tokyo and Nagoya, etc. Recently, sea-surface cultivation has increased, and Kinki University Fisheries Research Institute in Wakayama prefecture has succeeded in developing technology that allows for complete Bluefin tuna cultivation, including incubation and raising of the fish to lay eggs for the next generation. This demonstrates the shift from an industry based on catching marine products to cultivation. The harvest from sea-surface cultivation of pearls and red sea bream in Mie Prefecture are both in the higher ranks nationwide.
 As for the Sea of Japan, there are more than 280 types of fish caught in the fishing grounds of Wakasa Bay and the sea around northern Tango. The crab caught in Hyogo Prefecture, the northern part of Kyoto Prefecture and the Echizen coast of Fukui Prefecture are very famous, drawing many tourists who come to enjoy the taste of the crab in winter. The city of Sakaiminato in Tottori Prefecture brings in more crab than any other place in Japan.
 In regard to freshwater fishing, the largest freshwater lake in Japan, Lake Biwa, is located in Shiga Prefecture, where the fishing industry is one of the largest in the prefecture. Lake Biwa has long been a treasure house of special freshwater fish like minnows and carp, and most of the freshwater fish found in Japan can be seen there.

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