'Tis the season for making "korogaki" dried persimmons in Kyoto's Ujitawara, with the fruit laid out on racks under the sun and in a cold wind at a "kakiya" persimmon shop built of logs and straw.

There are 15 kakiya in the town that specializes in drying the "tsurunoko" variety of astringent persimmons. The peeled fruit is left to dry for about three weeks and is ready when a white powdery coating of sugar forms on the outside.

Persimmons are spread out on a shelve and left to dry for about three weeks. 

At farmer Kiyotomi Shimooka's home stands a kakiya as tall as a three-story building. Persimmons are spread out on five shelves like a carpet. Shimooka and his family uses bamboo winnowing baskets and machinery to rotate the fruit so that the moisture in them is evenly distributed.

This year's drying has been smooth so far thanks to the weather, with little rain since November. Shimooka said he expects to ship about 2 tons of korogaki dried persimmons.

"The best way to enjoy them is with tea during New Year's," he said. "I hope (customers) will enjoy the dried persimmon's elegant sweetness."

The Kyoto Shimbun

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