About 200 years ago, a samurai named Hikoemon Sugi brought to Hagi two natsumikan plats from the Ohibi village on the Omi-jima Island in Nagano, and planted them in the courtyard of a friend. Since in Ohibi the natsumikan fruits were used to prepare vinegar without being consumed, during the first years nobody tasted the fruits. But when they did, they found them so good that they even offered the fruits as gifts for the domain’s lord, Mori Takachika.
After the Meiji Restoration, when the samurai remained without their stipends, they started cultivating natsumikan in their gardens, selling the fruits. Today, natsumikan is the flower of the Yamaguchi Prefecture, and together with the famous walls of Hagi is represented on the artistic manhole covers in Hagi.
Yesterday’s Japan Photo: