FEATURE: Spa-heated farm produces tropical mangoes in frosty Hokkaido

12:46 16 January 2016

By Yuya Noda
KUSHIRO, Japan, Jan. 16, Kyodo

In the cold, snowy town of Teshikaga on Japan's northernmost main island of Hokkaido, Mitsumune Murata was contemplating how to utilize a plot of land with a hot spring source when he came up with a unique idea to grow mangoes.

Murata is a big fan of "onsen" spas, but he did not feel like constructing yet another hot spring facility as there already were many in the neighborhood's Mashu Onsen area. So he considered using the underground thermal energy to heat greenhouses instead.

But perhaps because the tropical fruit was too far-removed from the common image of wintry Hokkaido, friends he consulted were all skeptical of his plan and said such a business would be impossible. The negative response, however, made him ever more determined to give it a try.