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    Nothing says Japanese Christmas like Tsurushigaki (aka Looking Out My Window In Japan)

    By thomas | December 14, 2008

    If you were to look out my apartment window, this is what you’d see:

    Looking Out My Window In Japan

    Yes, that’s right.  The apartment across the street!   Not very exciting.  But if you look a little to the left, you’ll see this:

    Looking Out My Window In Japan

    Some more apartments, some cars, a pair of rice fields and… tsurushi-gaki!

    So wait, what’s tsurushi-gaki?  I’ll tell you.

    Japan has these fruits called “kaki“.  They have an English name too, persimmon, so some of you may know what they are.  I never saw one back in Texas so they were new to me.  Anyway, people around here grow them and so a lot of the time I’ll get them as gifts.  One problem though: I don’t like them!   The texture, the taste, the skin, the seeds.   Not my favorite fruit.  But there’s something magical you can do to them to make them taste awesome.  Turn them into tsurushi-gaki!

    The word tsurushi-gaki comes from the verb 吊るす (tsurusu) which means “to hang, to suspend”, and the word 柿 (kaki) which is the fruit.  tsurushi-gakis are also called hoshi-gaki, from the verb 干す (hosu) “to hang outside”. (umeboshi gets its name from this too).

    Anyway, tsurushi-gakis are just kakis left hanging outside for a while until they become dried kakis.  And they are delicious.  The perfect Christmas treat in Japan!  Here’s how to make them:

    1. Get some kaki and get some string – sometimes they sell tsurushi-gaki kits like this one, but you can also just buy the individual fruits.

      tsurushi-gaki hoshi-gaki dried kaki

    2. Peel the kaki, or get someone you love to do it for you while you take a picture.

      tsurushi-gaki hoshi-gaki dried kaki

    3. Attach the kaki to your string. This can be tricky if you bought kaki that don’t have their stems intact. Be creative.

      tsurushi-gaki hoshi-gaki dried kaki

    4. When you finish attaching all of your kakis, hold the string up and admire your work.

      tsurushi-gaki hoshi-gaki dried kaki

    5. Hang your kakis outside.

      tsurushi-gaki hoshi-gaki dried kaki

    6. Wait about one or two months. If it rains really hard, you might want to bring them in temporarily so they won’t get soaked and spoil. When they are done they should look something like this:

      tsurushi-gaki hoshi-gaki dried kaki

    7. Enjoy your tsurushi-gakis. Eat it as is, add it to your cereal, whatever. Mmmmmm.. Delicious!  Even more delicious by the Christmas tree.

      tsurushi-gaki hoshi-gaki dried kaki

    Kaki usually show up in stores around mid-fall and continue on into the winter. If you get them early enough, you can put them out and they will be ready just in time for Christmas (too late now, I know, sorry. But act now and you can have tsurushi-gakis for Setsubun!). We make these every year and for me it’s become one my images of Christmas in Japan (though Japanese people associate them more with New Years, but whatever).


    Do you have a tip for making cool Japanese food snacks?  Let me know!

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    Topics: Japanese Food, Winter | 11 Comments »Trackback

    11 Responses to “Nothing says Japanese Christmas like Tsurushigaki (aka Looking Out My Window In Japan)”

    1. Jon E. Says:
      December 14th, 2008 at 11:09 am

      This is so cool. Thank you very much sharing with us :D

    2. Deas Says:
      December 14th, 2008 at 12:27 pm

      How do you avoid bugs? I mean, you’re hanging a sweet fruit outside for months! Surely you attract the odd critter or two?

    3. thomas Says:
      December 14th, 2008 at 1:03 pm

      @Deas: Not sure. We haven’t had a problem with bugs at all. Maybe because it’s winter? Or maybe bugs don’t like kaki either.

    4. 柿大好き Says:
      December 15th, 2008 at 2:57 am

      Thanks! I didn’t know how to do this.

    5. brb Says:
      December 17th, 2008 at 2:51 pm

      I like kaki but I haven’t tasted this. I was also going to ask what Deas already did. I might try this sometime. Very nice post.

    6. RK Says:
      December 20th, 2008 at 2:04 am

      Something like this net might work, to avoid bugs?

      In my hometown (Shikoku), they are called “hoshi-gaki.”

    7. thomas Says:
      December 20th, 2008 at 3:49 am

      @RK: Thanks for the link. :)

      I mentioned the name hoshi-gaki in the post. Where I live, they use both. The ones I’ve seen sold at the store were called tsurushi-gakis, but when my father-in-law gave some homemade ones to us, he called them hoshi-gaki.

    8. Looking Out The Window In Japan - Nihon Sun Says:
      December 21st, 2008 at 6:39 am

      […] from Nihon Hacks shares the view of tsurushi-gaki drying on his balcony in Hyogo Prefecture as well as instructions […]

    9. Japan Blog Matsuri Christmas Edition « JapanSoc Community Blog Says:
      December 24th, 2008 at 1:41 am

      […] has written a “how-to” for hanging persimmons. Nothing says Christmas like Tsurushi-gaki, a popular seasonal […]

    10. Mr. Kato Says:
      February 28th, 2009 at 8:50 pm

      Great blog post. I’ve seen the persimmons hung on racks in Ishikawa prefecture, and they always reminded me of Christmas ornaments. Interesting that you raised the topic around the Christmas season.

    11. catherine c Says:
      July 6th, 2009 at 8:30 am

      This is so cool. But I could never do this. I have cats. And outsie there are feild animals in the wild that would eat this up before if dried one day!. Bummer! Have a Blessed day, catherine:)