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Kanagawa's Shonan Gold: A 'phantom orange' for citrus fruit lovers


Citrus fruit lovers might find themselves interested in a particular fruit that could just be the citrus of their dreams. Exclusively developed and grown only in Kanagawa Prefecture, the Shonan Gold externally resembles a lemon but has a refreshing sweetness to it with a hint of tartness. The inner flesh looks closer to that of an orange, and there are also few seeds. Moreover, the skin is smooth and easy to peel by hand, making it enjoyable even for young children to have by themselves.


Shonan Gold Fruit

Originating from the Kanagawa Agricultural Technology Centre in Odawara, cultivation of the fruit began in 1988, then went through various selection and propagation processes until 1999 to establish stability of its characteristics. Shonan Gold was produced from a hybrid between two other Japanese citrus fruits known as the Ogonkan (or ki-mikan), and the Imamura Unshu, which is a variety of the satsuma mikan. Finally, Shonan Gold was registered as a variety by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) in 2003.

This delicious fruit ripens between March to April and its flavor lasts through May. Kanagawa accounts for 100% of the production of Shonan Gold, with major producers being Odawara and Yugawara Town. With a low production volume, it is also sometimes known as a “phantom orange.”


Over-the-counter products sold at Japan Rail Café

In September and October last year, a Kanagawa Fair was held in conjunction with Japan Rail Café, promoting tourism to Kanagawa and over-the-counter sales of local specialty products. The products featured in the fair were from 10 small and medium-sized enterprises from Kanagawa that were interested in expanding into Singapore. They included: Choshiya, Moriyama Milk Industries, Nozawa Sakuzo Shoten, Shonan Chigasakiya, Koganei Brewery, L’Orient Confectionary Store, Akisawa-en, Nature, Japan Energy Food, and Odawara Sake Sales Cooperative. From these 10 enterprises, the featured Shonan Gold products were the Shonan Gold jelly, Shonan Gold drops and Shonan Gold wine. Additionally, there was also a craft gin from Koganei Brewery that uses Shonan Gold as one of its ingredients.


Shonan Gold gummy

From February 25th this year, yet another Kanagawa Fair is being hosted with HIS International, aiming to introduce more Kanagawa food products to Singapore, where Japanese food and products are greatly popular. At the same time, to promote exports to the market and expand sales channels between Kanagawa and Singapore through test marketing of prefectural products. This Kanagawa Fair is once again featuring the Shonan Gold jelly, drops, and wine, as well as Koganei Shuzo’s craft gin among various other local specialty goods. Moreover, there is also an additional Shonan Gold gummy product being introduced this time.


Shonan Gold jelly

Nature is a Kanagawa company that specializes in producing fresh fruit jellies, and they have up to 19 different flavors made with fruits from Kanagawa Prefecture and other parts of Japan. The Shonan Gold jelly from nature is a soft jelly that highlights the natural sweetness of the original fruit and perfectly refreshing to have as an after-meal dessert.


Shonan Gold sweet drops

The Shonan Gold sweet drops from Nozawa Sakuzo Shoten have a delicate and sweet taste to them, encased in a gorgeous metal tin can that features a more traditional design to bring out the uniqueness of this treat.


Shonan Gold wine

Since Odawara is one of the major producers of Shonan Gold, it is no surprise that they have also created a Shonan Gold wine. It has a beautiful clear gold color and a nice aroma peculiar to Shonan Gold.

Photos: Kanagawa Prefectural Government

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