The potato was probably brought to Japan by Dutch traders who established an enclave in Nagasaki early in the 17th century. But widespread cultivation of the tuber did not begin until late in the 19th century, when it proved well suited to the cool summers of the northern island of Hokkaido.
Today, Hokkaido's is still Japan's largest fresh potato producing region, accounting for nearly 80 percent of total domestic production. Agriculture in Hokkaido is relatively large in scale and the weather is cool, providing suitable conditions for potato cultivation.
largest production region is Kyushu, the southern-most of Japan’s four main islands accounting for 8.6 percent.
Early harvest in Kyushu takes place in June, while Hokkaido harvest begins in September.
Along with the steady decline in production over recent decades, there has been a shift from home preparation to consumption of processed potato products such as chips and french fries. Most of the frozen potato products consumed in Japan are imported, while a significant part of the potato chips are produced from imported potatoes.
Consumption of Frozen French Fries in Japan. Around 90% of frozen french fries consumed in Japan is imported.
(Source: USDA FAS / Japan Frozen Food Association)
Origin of the Frozen French Fries imported to Japan.
(Source: USDA FAS / Global Trade Atlas)