It’s thirty degrees on a hot summer’s day and Mr. Ohta is stuck outside in a heavy long sleeved jacket with an awkwardly large mesh hood over his face blowing smoke over wooden boxes. The smoke is stop swarms of bees from attacking. This is not how most of us would like to spend a hot day.
Mr. Ohta first started into beekeeping 16 years ago. WHY? The bees are practically his pets. They live in the woods in Misorano with over 15,000 per box and during peak summer over a million are buzzing around. The bees are honey bees.
The honey-making process starts in the spring: After a winter under the snow huddled up in the hives, the bees go into full-blown production mode when the weather warms up, gathering nectar from nearby flowering plants. They bring the nectar back to the hive so other bees can convert it into honey. Mr. Ohta removes the honey daily and in the safety of his kitchen pours it into jars.
Family and friends swear that the honey is so much sweeter that the varieties that you can buy in the local supermarkets. (A lot of honey lands on this editor’s breakfast cereal every morning and ice cream in the evening!)
The honey is on sale at Ohta Pharmacy, near to the main Hakuba Train Station, where the Mr. Ohta helps with the family business. (Mon- Sat 9:00-17:00)