Besides the udon and wasanbon, olives is another famous product of Kagawa prefecture. People even say that Kagawa prefecture is the origin of olives in Japan. In 1908, following victory of Russo-Japanese War, Japan obtained the right to fish on the northern see. To improve and promote the oil sardine business, the Meiji government imported olive young trees and tried to produce olive oil, one of the basic ingredients. At first, they chose Kagawa, Mie, and Kagoshima three prefectures as test sites to grow olives. However, the climate was quite different from a place to another, and the experiments in Mie and Kagoshima failed because of plant diseases and insect pests. Fortunately, olive saplings grew successfully in Shodoshima,Kagawa prefecture, where the climate is quite similar to the Mediterranean one. The first olives were harvested in 1911 Shodoshima becoming the origin place of olives in Japan.
Champion of the Japan Olive Oil Prize
Besides Shodoshima, there is a place in the surrounding of Takamatsu city which is also suitable for growing olive. Their olive oil won the champion title in Japan Olive Oil Prize (JOOP) held by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in 2018, their brand name is “Oki Olive”.
The owner of Oki Olive garden is Mr. Oki Takao who moved to Kagawa from Gifu 4 years ago. One day, when he was still working for a Tokyo securities company, he made an official trip to Kagawa and tasted for the first time olive oil made in Japan. The rich and gentle taste he tried at this time decided him to quit his job and come to Kagawa to create the “world best olive oil from Japan” and spread it the whole world.
Oki Olive won the Japan Olive Oil Prize with the wonderful appraise: “a freshness just like olives picked at the instant from the tree”.
Oki Olive makes all the process from harvest olives to oil, and shipping within three days. The harvested olives are pressed into oil within 4 hours and are not filtered to keep the flavors of olive. What it so particular with olive oil is that the special fragrance of olive is softening and blending when combined with other ingredients, taking a supporting role to emphasize the dish flavors. On this aspect Oki Olive oil perfectly enhances the original taste of ingredients, reason of its strong popularity with Japanese and French chefs.
The Oki Olive Garden Cafe – a place to taste olive oil recipes
Mr. Oki Takao, the owner of Oki Olive Garden, operates a small cafe shop under the olive trees, named Oki Olive Garden Cafe where visitors can enjoy the meals made using Oki Olive oil. It was a raining day when I visited; however, the olive garden just got more beautiful under the rain as it sublimate the green of the leaves.
The menu offers three sets but very few options of hot meals. At first, I wondered “why do they not serve some warm meals ?”, until I tasted the dishes. The owner wishes to introduce the fresh and simple taste of olive oil, so he designed these meals including cold vegetable salad curry rice and tomato gazpacho which bring out all the savor of the olive oil.
The meals tasted light and fresh. All the dishes incorporated some olive oil, but the smell of olive did not disturb the taste of ingredients, even the special olive tea refreshed me after the meal.
Oki Olive made in Kagawa prefecture has a light flavor, and Japanese dishes are the best choice to taste it. Drop some olive oil on sashimi or tofu, the slight and gentle aroma of olive will match perfectly without covering the initial taste. If you eat raw eggs, we recommend you to drop some Oki Olive oil on your rice and raw egg, to enjoy a gorgeous Mediterranean fragrance.
Every year only a small amount of oil is produced and usually sold on the online shop. If you are lucky enough to find the Oki Olive oil in the shop, do not miss the chance to buy a bottle of the highest grade of olive oil in Kagawa.
Access: Take taxi from Kotoden Busshozan station about 17 minutes. Take Kotoden bus line Nishiueta(西植田) at Kotoden Kawaramachi station and get off at Nishiueta stop (西植田停留所), then take 25 to 30-minute walk way to Café Jardin.
- Address: 〒761-0445 香川県高松市西植田町4532
- Business hour: 11:00～15：00
- Closed on: Irregular holidays
- TEL: +81-80-1623-7772
- Web: https://www.okiolive.com/
- FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/takao.oki.98
- INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/okiolive/
- Wi-Fi: N/A
- Language: Japanese
- Credit card: N/A