Japanese Fruit: Hyuganatsu Miyazaki Omiyage Hyuga-no-Kaori Yokan

Itadakimono from NoRecipes: The hyuganatsu is a very mysterious citrus from southern Japan that apparently just appeared in 1820. I became acquainted and enchanted with this fruit this spring thanks to a business associate that is originally from Miyazaki. The taste is uniquely sour and very fragrant. The white pith between the flesh and peel is very thick and is not bitter and is eaten with the fruit.

Hyuganatsu is only available in Kyoto for a few weeks in the late winter and early spring and most Japanese have never eaten it. This spring I was inspired to some truly exquisite marmalade with hyuganatsu.

Japanese Fruit: Hyuganatsu Miyazaki Omiyage Hyuga-no-Kaori Yokan 宮崎銘菓 七万石 日向のかほり

Miyazaki Citrus Hyuganatsu

Renowned Foodies in Kyoto from NYC
Marc from NoRecipes.com, a foodie blogger friend was in Kyoto this week and we finally got a chance to meet in person and ‘foodie’. He brought along Stephane from ZenCanCook.com, Stephane is a real French chef. The night of their arrival we did Japanese beef at Hiro, then sake at Nihonshu Bar Asakura then sumashi ramen at Takaraya. A few days later we did the wholesale food market and Kyoto-style sushi lesson at Kichisen with Chef Tanigawa.

Hyuganatsu Wagashi Omiyage
Marc was in Miyazaki, on Kyushu, before he came up to Kyoto and he kindly brought some omiyage souvenirs for me including Miyazaki’s undisputed meibutsu, the hyuganatsu in the form of a whole candied hyuganatsu filled with hyuganatsu flavored white yokan from a shinise in Miyazaki. It was a foodies dream come true.

Japanese Fruit: Hyuganatsu Miyazaki Omiyage Hyuga-no-Kaori Yokan 宮崎銘菓 七万石 日向のかほり

Hyuganatsu Yokan: Hyuga-no-Kaori Box and Wrapping

Japanese Fruit: Hyuganatsu Miyazaki Omiyage Hyuga-no-Kaori Yokan 宮崎銘菓 七万石 日向のかほり

Hyuganatsu Yokan: Hyuga-no-Kaori Inner Wrapping

Japanese Fruit: Hyuganatsu Miyazaki Omiyage Hyuga-no-Kaori Yokan 宮崎銘菓 七万石 日向のかほり

Hyuganatsu Yokan: Hyuga-no-Kaori

Hyuga-no-Kaori Yokan (七万石 日向のかほり)
There are a number of wagashi confections in Japanese cuisine that use a whole citrus fruit peel as a container for mochi, jelly or yokan flavored with the fruits juice. Some of my favorites are steamed yuzu filled with mochi, a cold season specialty of northern Japan and a bitter summer orange filled with jelly served chilled in the summer.

According to the Japanese Wikipedia article, hyuganatsu citrus (citrus tamurana) 日向夏柑橘 suddenly appeared in the Miyazaki garden of Yasutaro Magata in 1820. He didn’t know what the fruit was but did eat a few every winter but they were too sour for his taste. One summer a carpenter named Chibei Takazuma who was repairing Magata’s thatched roof helped himself to one of the mysterious fruit that was just left on the tree and he thought that it tasted pretty good. He took home a branch and grafted it onto a tree in his garden. From there cultivation of the fruit spread and by 1887 the name ‘hyuganatsu’ was in common use. It is thought that the hyuganatsu is a mutation of the yuzu citrus fruit.

Nanaman Goku (七万石) is a shinise in Miyazaki that developed this delightful confection in 1873. The confection is called Hyuga-no-Kaori which literally means the ‘fragrance of hyuga’. Development required 4 years of endeavor. To make it the flesh of the fruit is removed and juiced and used to flavor yokan jelly. The peel is candied and filled with yokan. The whole citrus fruit being candied makes this one rather unique, I think.

To serve, the confection is sliced into wedges reminiscent of the fruit wedges themselves.

Japanese Fruit: Hyuganatsu Miyazaki Omiyage Hyuga-no-Kaori Yokan 宮崎銘菓 七万石 日向のかほり

Hyuganatsu Yokan: Hyuga-no-Kaori - Slicing

Japanese Fruit: Hyuganatsu Miyazaki Omiyage Hyuga-no-Kaori Yokan 宮崎銘菓 七万石 日向のかほり

Hyuganatsu Yokan: Hyuga-no-Kaori - Sliced

Japanese Fruit: Hyuganatsu Miyazaki Omiyage Hyuga-no-Kaori Yokan 宮崎銘菓 七万石 日向のかほり

Hyuganatsu Yokan: Hyuga-no-Kaori - Sliced and Served

Japanese Fruit: Hyuganatsu Miyazaki Omiyage Hyuga-no-Kaori Yokan 宮崎銘菓 七万石 日向のかほり

Hyuganatsu Yokan: Hyuga-no-Kaori - Served

Japanese Fruit: Hyuganatsu Miyazaki Omiyage Hyuga-no-Kaori Yokan 宮崎銘菓 七万石 日向のかほり

Hyuganatsu Yokan: Hyuga-no-Kaori - detail

How did Hyuga-no-Kaori Yokan taste?
Nanaman Goko says that they make this confection all year and with the seasons the taste changes quite a bit. I am a fiend for hyuganatsu so I was very excited to try this. It is absolutely beautiful and I felt that the packaging is certainly of a bygone and more pure era, like a Norman Rockwell painting. On the whole, I found it a little too sweet, but I was able to fix that with some Yankee ingenuity: I washed it.

There was not much hyuganatsu taste in the yokan but the peel is overflowing with flavor and fragrance. The yokan is a prefect balance to the sour of the peel. My only criticism is that it is quite sweet. Wagashi that is intended to be enjoyed with bitter maccha is often very sweet, so this is not unusual. Most of the sweetness comes from the sugar that is adhered to the candied peel. I tried scraping away some of the sugar with a knife but it is really stuck. I then tried running water over a slice for a few seconds, once to melt the sugar and a second time to wash it away. That removed a good portion of the sugar and that made the sweetness perfect for me.

Eating Hyuganatsu Fresh
You can see how to slice the hyuganatsu for eating fresh on this Sake Chat and Hyuganatsu Kyoto Diary article.

Hyuganatsu Marmalade Article Tease:
This was a beauty to behold, cook and eat! Hopefully I will get to it soon, until then..

Japanese Fruit: Hyuganatsu Miyazaki Omiyage Hyuga-no-Kaori Yokan 宮崎銘菓 七万石 日向のかほり

Miyazaki Citrus Hyuganatsu

Japanese Fruit: Hyuganatsu Miyazaki Omiyage Hyuga-no-Kaori Yokan 宮崎銘菓 七万石 日向のかほり

Miyazaki Citrus Hyuganatsu Ready for Making Marmalade

8 Responses to “Japanese Fruit: Hyuganatsu Miyazaki Omiyage Hyuga-no-Kaori Yokan”

  1. Wow that was fast! Your photos look great. I had some of this while I was down there and could only eat a slice at a time because of the sweetness but it does go good with tea.

  2. Corie L Stern says:

    Beautiful photography! I’d love to try some of this! Wonder if you could flavor this fruit for a sorbet??? Excellent articles as always!
    Corie

  3. Meiya Wender says:

    Thanks for the article; I can practically smell the hyuganatsu. I would like to try making the yokan – perhaps with yuzu juice. Can you help with a recipe?

    thank you,
    Meiya

  4. Peko Peko says:

    Hello Marc, And thank you!

    Hello Corie, Thank you much and I think that hyuganatsu juice would make an excellent sorbet.

    Hello Maiya, I have never made yokan, I will check around about a recipe. It ought to be fairly easy to make.

  5. Meg says:

    This is so beautiful! The skin of the citrus looked intact, so how do they put the yokan inside?
    The packaging is really nice, too.
    I look forward to hearing how your marmalade turns out.

  6. Leon Koh says:

    I am such a fan of your blog.. that reading your blog inspired me to plan for my coming trip to Kyoto end Nov!!

    have a great week ahead!

    leon

  7. Marcus says:

    A tip for Hyuganatsu fans – Hyuganatsu and kiwi is a match made in heaven. Made a coulis based on the two to go with a chocolate cheesecake the other day. Delicious.

  8. Kenny says:

    How on earth do they extract all the flesh from inside and then put all the yokan in? From looking at the pictures, there seems to be no obvious area they cut out for the purpose!

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