Hinokuniya: A Fruits Shop With A Scientific Approach To Sweetness

Hinokuniya, located at Ujitawara-cho in Kyoto, is famous for handling very sweet fruits.
At this store, customers line up daily for the delicious merchandise. We asked the owner, Mr. Hinokuni Yugyo, about the secret of his sweet products.

Transforming the Tastiness into Numbers

The owner aims to sell fruits with a certain quality. So how does he select the sweet fruits?

“The quality of a fruit depends on its sweetness and acerbity. We measure the sugar content and acidity of each fruit, and compile the data to determine the best numbers. That number is used as a benchmark when we purchase the fruits.”

The owner selects fruits with the sugar content numbers ranging from thirteen to sixteen, which is sweeter than average. The purchased fruits are measured again, and sold at the shop, with the price in accordance with its sugar content numbers.

Hinokuniya has an original brand called Manten (which means “full marks” in Japanese). To be included in this brand, the sugar content number must be fourteen or more for the peaches, fifteen or more for the oranges, and sixteen or more for the melons.

Mr. Hinokuni selects and labels the sugar content numbers so that the shop can “earn the trust of the customers.”

Even with a slight difference in the sugar content numbers, the taste of a fruit will change. The labeling helps the customers when they are choosing the fruits.

The Collaboration with the Producers

“Our relationships with the producer of fruits is very valuable,” says the owner.

“We attend agricultural fairs to sample the fruits, and get in touch with the producers who came to our attention, to make suggestions about cultivation and the timing of harvesting.”

Hinokuniya shares its data and ideas about cultivation with the producers, to improve the quality of its products.

Creating a Delicious Melon

The owner is especially interested in developing melons.

As the melon belongs to the gourd family, it sometimes becomes watery and taste bitter. Hinokuniya has devised ways of harvesting to improve the taste, and shares its knowledge with the producers.

The melons at Hinokuniya are all sweet, even at the parts near the skin, and has become a popular product, selling 500 a year.

Developing a Wholesome Juice

Hinokuniya hopes to support the customers’ health by selling wholesome products, so they also handle original juice and fruit extracts, which are both preservative- and additive-free.

There is a wide variety to choose from, as the bottled products are also classified according to the sugar content number, which ranges from thirteen to eighteen.

Ume-no-chikara Juice. Sugar content number: 15/ 2160 yen with tax (one liter) and 432 yen with tax (200 milliliters). Sugar content number: 14/ 1620 yen with tax (one liter)

“We recommend Ume-no-chikara, a juice with ume (Japanese plum) extract, so that our customers can consume the citric acid contained in ume. The citric acid, which is contained in various fruits, works as a lubricant in the human body, and assists the energy metabolism and improves the physical condition,” the owner said.

This juice with the ume fragrance is refreshing. Hinokuniya also has orange and pomegranate juice as well, and they all have a natural taste.

The owner is involved in every aspect of business such as cultivation, purchasing, manufacturing, sales and cooperating with the producers, to create a better product for his customers.

Hinokuniya seeks to develop delicious and wholesome fruits. Their products are made from this strong belief.

Hinokuniya Information
Address: Kyoto, Tsuzuki, Ujitawara-cho, Araki-oji 8
Business Hours: 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Closed Days: Wednesdays
Wi-Fi: Not Available
Credit Cards: Not Accepted
Language: Japanese
Pamphlets or Menus in Other Languages: Not Available
Nearest station: Shin-tanabe Station (Kintetsu Line)/ Uji Station (Keihan Line and JR)
From Shin-tanabe Station/ Get on the Kyoto Keihan Bus bound for Ryokuenzaka, and get off at the Omiyamichi bus stop. It is a one minute walk to Hinokuniya. The bus ride takes 30 minutes, and the fare is 440 yen.
From Keihan and JR Uji Station/ Get on the Kyoto Keihan Bus bound for Ichumae, and get off at the Omiyamichi bus stop. It is a one minute walk to Hinokuniya. The bus ride takes 30 minutes, and the fare is 430 yen.
Telephone: +81-774-88-4510 (Japanese only)
Facsimile: +81-774-88-5586 (Japanese only)
E-mail: hinokuniya@gaia.eonet.ne.jp (Japanese only)
Website: https://www.hinokuniya.net/ (Japanese only)