In Japan, both the orange-colored Western carrot and the reddish Japanese carrot are popular vegetables.
The modern carrot originated in Afghanistan in the 10th century - an Arab agriculturist at that time describes both yellow and red varieties. Cultivated carrots appeared in China in the 14th century, and in Japan in the 18th century. The now all over the world so popular orange-colored carrots appeared in the 17th century in the Netherlands, where orange is the national color.
There are two indigenous varieties in Japan, both fresh red in color: kintoki and takinogawa; both are fairly long and slim (the takinogawa is even very thin).
Japanese carrots are in season in autumn and winter. They are often prepared as nimono, simmered dishes, and can also be used in nabemono (hotpot) and soups.
The kintoki is a Kyoto-brand vegetable and also called "Kyoto (red) carrot." These beautifully tapered carrots are deep-red in color. Compared to orange carrots, the kintoki carrot contains many nutrient components. The red color contains not only Beta carotene, but also lycopene. The flesh is tender and the taste is sweet. Kintoki carrots do not break apart during boiling. They are sweet and have only little typical carrot smell, but their characteristic flavor is stronger than that of other carrots.