Tourists experience agricultural work in Tono.  |  Photo courtesy of Tono Natural Life Network

Agricultural tourism catches on in Japan

More than 100 farms in this part of the country welcome tourists who can stay overnight and experience farm work

TONO, Japan — Kotoro Kikuchi, a second-year student at Tono Ryokuho High School, came to stay at a farm Sept. 26-27 with three other boys from his school. “Today, we harvested chestnuts,” Kikuchi said. Kikuchi, 17, said he came here to experience agriculture, but he wants to be a fisherman after graduating from high school. […] Read more

This is a common scene in North America, but barbecuing is done a little differently in Japan.  |  File photo

Beef elbowing onto Japanese barbecue grill

Most people in Japan barbecue thinly sliced meat, seafood, vegetables and noodles, but beef consumption is growing

TOKYO — Japan is going through the height of its barbecue season right now, but one can practically never smell the aroma of sizzling Canadian beef. Whereas barbecue aficionados in Canada and the United States are used to suburban backyard gatherings, most people in the Tokyo vicinity or other Japanese big-city areas have little in […] Read more

The Ontario Cattle Feeders Association is promoting its Corn Fed Beef brand in Japan.  |  GETTY PHOTO

Ontario corn-fed beef takes spotlight in Japan

TOKYO — Ontario Corn Fed Beef’s chance to shine came at a seminar and follow-up barbecue held July 18 at the Canadian embassy in Tokyo. “There has been Ontario beef coming in (before 2015), but not this particular brand,” said John Baker, director of brand management and business development for the Ontario Cattle Feeders Association. The […] Read more


Japanese frozen beef imports continue to soar

Japan keeps increasing the amount of foreign beef it buys, despite a tariff increase to 50 percent from 38.5

TOKYO — Japan’s frozen beef imports have continued rising year on- year, despite the Aug. 1 tariff hike to 50 percent from 38.5. Japan Ministry of Finance figures, currently available through November 2017, show a 16.72 percent year-on-year rise for total imports of frozen beef in the August-November period, from 637,303.15 tonnes in 2016 to […] Read more

A staff member prepares to serve  pork steak at HyLife Pork Table, a pork dish restaurant operated by HyLife, a Canadian pig farmer and pork processor, at Daikanyama district in Tokyo, Japan. Last year, Canadian pork exports to Japan hit a record $3.812 million.  |  REUTERS/Issei Kato photo

Canadian pork satisfies Japanese appetites

TOKYO, Japan — Japan’s imports of Canadian pork are rising, said Tatsuo Iwama, ex-executive director for the Japan Meat Traders Association, which comprises 30 major Japanese meat traders. “Canadian pork meets Japan’s quality and price requirements,” Iwama said. Japan Ministry of Finance figures bear Iwama out. Imports of Canadian pork rose almost 20 percent last […] Read more


Japan’s 2011 earthquake, tsunami and nuclear power plant accident caused hardship for the region’s farmers, including asparagus grower Yoshiyuki Shigihara.  |  Photo courtesy Fukushima Prefecture Iitate Reconstruction Policy Division

Nuclear accident still affecting Japanese agriculture

Strict protocols are in place to routinely test and monitor all agricultural products to ensure food safety

FUKUSHIMA PREFECTURE, Japan — Yoshiyuki Shigihara, manager of one of the Seven and I convenience store chain’s outlets in his native city of Iitate, dreamed of starting a greenhouse asparagus farm. Iitake has a similar environment as Kitakata, another city in Fukushima Prefecture famous for its asparagus. Asparagus sold in Japan in the winter comes […] Read more

Imported food prices are rising in China, such as in this grocery store in Beijing.  | REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon photo

Chinese willing to pay more for imported pork

China’s import prices have been rising since last year and have even driven up international pork prices. Analysts expect this to continue this year, but Cesar Urias, market access and government programs management director for Canada Pork International, takes a more nuanced approach. Urias said those forecasts may have been reasonable last year, when pork […] Read more

Alberta Japan Office project co-ordinator Manami Okusawa, left, and Canada Pork International’s Japan marketing director, Shoji Nomura, talk to a representative of the Hanamasa supermarket chain while showcasing Alberta pork at the Canadian Pavilion at the FoodEx international food fair this spring.  |  Canada Pork International photo

Alberta pork pleases Japanese palates

TOKYO, Japan — Alberta pork was showcased again this year at Japan’s annual FoodEx international food fair near Tokyo. It was the second year Alberta pork has had a presence at the fair. However, the meat has been coming to this country for 35 years, said Shoji Nomura, Japan marketing director with Canada Pork International. […] Read more