The olive history in Japan

The first olive trees were imported from France in 1862 followed by in 1879.
Imported olives, grapes, oranges, and other plants to foster new crops.
A national olive farm was established in the city of Kobe and made table olives and oils. The farm was privatized in 1888 but closed down in 1896.

In 1906, the government imported olive nursery from the U.S.A. aiming olive oils.
Filed tests were conducted in three places, Kagoshima, Kagawa, and Mie prefectures. Kagawa has been continuing cultivation since then.

Increasing olive growers

Expanding growers from Kagawa to toward many places in Japan

No large farms like Spain and others

The largest one is in Kagawa with 25ha, 30K trees, 96tons fruits in 2014

Varieties are different in each farmer

Dedicated farmers to learn olives

There are issues for olive business
・Scale of farm
・Quantity of output
・Oil quality

Extending Gardening Market

Increasing the number of gardeners
Pots in many places even in a small house
Home made pickles
Collectors for varieties


Bonsai lovers
Expecting small fruits


There are less than 10 nursery farms who import olive trees and cultivate (Olive Garden research)
Importing 40-50 K nursery trees these years from 5-6 countries

Cuttage from a mother tree is common
No fruits allowed to import

Weather in Japan

There are four climate zones in Japan since it is laid from north to south.

Experimental trial 1: Automated irrigation farm

Started in November 2017
Located in Hachiouji City in Tokyo: snowing in winter, minus 7 degrees in January 2019
Two test irrigation lines: with fertigation, without fertigation
Three olive varieties; Carolea, Koroneiki, Picual
Trial use a mulch sheet named “Murudori” developed by NARO Japan
Trial use a ground cover developed by Talya Israel
Monitoring soil conditions and weather by sensors

Experimental trial 2: coldness

Why in Hokkaido?

It is said that olive cannot grow in cold places but we really want to see how olives react
We hope we can find a way to survive in cold places if possible
Location 1: Yoichi – north 43.17 degrees, planted in May 2018, carefully monitoring the results
Location 2: Toyoura – north 42.35 degrees, planted in June 2018, all died
Location 2: Tohya – 42.69 degrees, re-planted in April 2019, another winter cover method thinking
Only young trees such as 3 years old have been tested so far
There is one tree Leccino growing over 15 years in a green house in the same Toyha

Increasing the volume of olive oil importing

Importations to Japan have been Increasing:
・4 K tons in 1991 to 60K tons
・The price depends on the global market
・Most of them came from EU countries such as Spain and Italy

Olive oil is a relatively new comer in home
・One 250ml bottle per/year/capita
・Many other options for cooking such as Rice oil, sesame oil
・The health merits of olive oil are not well understood