Nakanojo welcomes you to Gunma with a beautiful local tradition you won’t find at any other station in Japan.

There are certain things you expect to see on a train station platform, like, for starters, trains. Benches and timetables are also pretty much givens, and this being Japan, you can pretty much always count on a vending machine or two.

But it’s safe to say that no one except locals expects to see what’s waiting for them at this time of year on the platform of Nakanojo Station in Gunma Prefecture.

No, those aren’t early Christmas decorations, and they’re not bird feeders either. They are food, though, and something that’s especially loved in Japan in the fall: persimmons!

Specifically, they’re hoshigaki, or “dried persimmons,” a traditional way of preserving the fruit by peeling them and suspending them in air. Not only does their vibrant orange hue provide a splash of color for anyone looking up, they also nicely complement the shade of the trains that pass through Nakanojo on the JR Agatsuma Line.

The hoshigaki are an annual event at Nakanojo Station, and usually go up following the town’s autumn festival, which includes a persimmon peeling contest. This year though, the festival was cancelled due to coronavirus precautions, but to keep the tradition going city employees peeled the persimmons themselves, preparing some 1,200 pieces of fruit, 50 of which came from a tree growing on the station grounds.

Since making hoshigaki is an autumn custom, they’ll only be on display until the end of December, before presumably being eaten by the local community. However, Nakanojo celebrates other seasons too, with traditional dolls in February and wind chimes, long thought by Japanese people to provide a cooling sensation with their gentle sound, in midsummer.

It just goes to show that Japanese train station platforms are full of surprises.

Source: NHK News Web
Featured image: Twitter/@NakanojoTownTA
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!