In Semboku City, Akita Prefecture, the harvest of Saimyoji chestnuts, which is said to be the largest chestnut in the Japan, is at its peak. However, this year, bears have been eating chestnuts before harvest, and farmers are worried about a decrease in yield.

Saimyoji chestnuts are said to have originated more than 300 years ago when seeds were imported from Kyoto and Gifu and cultivated, and the average size of the fruit is about 4 cm in diameter, making it a specialty of the city as the largest chestnut in the Japan.

The peak harvest season is around mid-October every year, and among them, Shigeru Yayanagi's chestnut orchard in the city also bears chestnuts as large as the size of a palm, and they are busy harvesting them.

However, this year, due to a series of bears, many of them were eaten before harvesting, and the poor visibility deep in the mountains was in danger of being attacked, so we gave up harvesting.

Each farmer has stepped up measures by setting off firecrackers before work, installing devices and radios that automatically emit sound when animals pass nearby, but the damage continues to occur.

For this reason, according to the cooperative made up of local producers, this year's harvest may fall to about half of the usual year in the city as a whole.

Mr. Yayanagi said, "We have been cultivating it for about 10 to 20 years, but there has been more damage by bears than usual, and our income is decreasing, and we don't know what to do."