'Biwa' fruit trees originally came form southeastern China but were introduced to Japan more than a 1000 years ago and have become a popular seasonal fruit grown in sub tropical climes such as southern Chiba. At this time of year all the Biwa trees are heavily laden with fruit which are often gifted to friends and neighbours. Orchardists individually wrap each one to protect the skins from marking and bruising, meaning they hit the shelves in pristine condition. They can be eaten raw, but need to be peeled and have the pips removed. Apparently it's also popular to make jam, jelly and chutney and can be fermented into a fruit wine!
We were very lucky to be gifted a box by the mother of a student and were very grateful. Japanese people never fail to surprise me with their generousity to others. Arigatougozaimasu!
For more information on Biwa, follow the Wikipedia link HERE