Fruit is a healthy, juicy, delicious treat. If you’re a fruit lover or are looking for a fun experience to try on your next trip to Japan, then I’ve got the perfect suggestion for you! One activity that you should definitely check out is *drum roll, please* fruit picking! Are you surprised? Believe it or not, this is a popular activity in Japan!
There are many farms and orchards in Japan that provide their visitors with an amazing fruit picking or harvesting experience. So what can you expect in a typical fruit picking experience? As the name suggests, visitors can pick and enjoy fruit on a farm or orchard for 30-60 minutes (depending on the location) for a fee. Some farms may charge based on the weight of the fruit, whilst others charge at the beginning of the session and let you pick as much fruit as you can during the time limit! Most of these sessions are all-you-can-eat, but you can’t take any fruit home with you. If you want to enjoy the delicious taste of the fruit at home, you can buy freshly made jams and snacks from the farm as a souvenir.
If you are interested in fruit picking, there are several ways for you to enjoy this experience. One option is to find tour operators who organize bus tours that take you directly to and from the location. Not sure how to go about this? Don’t despair! At Arigato Japan we can assist in arranging this experience via our travel planning consulting. However, you can also choose to go on your own. If so, you should check ahead with the farm before making a visit. This is because some farms may allow walk-in-visitors, while others may require you to make a reservation in advance.
Now that we’ve learnt a little about fruit picking, let’s take a closer look at some popular fruits and when they are in season for picking. I’ll also give you some recommended farms to visit on your next trip to Japan if you want to experience the joy of fruit-picking!
Strawberries are available from December to May as they can be easily grown indoors. Though some farms may start their strawberry picking season from mid-January, greenhouse-grown strawberries are available from January to February. Here’s a “sweet” tip when you go strawberry picking: choose the berries with seeds that are buried deep in the flesh (rather than the outside) with darker, curvier stems. These are often riper and sweeter!
If you are visiting the Kanto Region, ‘Tokyo Strawberry Park’ in Yokohama is a great location to go strawberry picking. At this technologically advanced farm, visitors are able to pick strawberries year-round. You should also check out the largest strawberry picking farm in the region, ‘Koshigawa Ichigo Town’ in Koshigaya City. But beware, the farm closes once all the ripe strawberries are picked!
As peaches are a summer fruit, they are in season from June to August. To pick the sweetest peaches, look for ones with a strong aroma and fuzzy exterior. Don’t be afraid to use your eyes, nose, and touch to find the perfect peaches! If you’re in Utsunomiya City, ‘Komaki En’ is a great farm to visit during the summer. At this farm, you can pick as many peaches as possible within 40 minutes.
From mid-May to early-July, you can enjoy cherry picking! Often referred to as the ‘heart and soul of fruit’, Yamanashi Prefecture has numerous fruit farms and orchards such as ‘Kanemaru Farms’ and ‘Nakagomi Orchard’ that offer cherry picking. These little fruits are not only delicious, but are also filled with vitamins that will make your skin radiant!
Grape picking season is during the fall (July to October). This means that you can enjoy picking grapes while admiring the beautiful fall colors. If you are in Tokyo, you can visit ‘Yamazaki Budo En Farm’ to enjoy picking some grapes during this season. The fee depends on the weight of the grapes that you pick.
This crunchy fruit comes into season during the colder months of October and November. Located in Kasumigaura City, ‘Fruit Park Hisamatsu Noen’ offers apple picking with no time limit! I’ve even heard that you can bring along your furry friend when you visit.
You can try mikan picking from mid-October to late-January. If you haven’t heard of ‘mikan’ before, let me explain it to you: they are a popular citrus fruit that tastes similar to seedless tangerines or mandarin oranges. Here’s a useful tip – small mikan with a large number of bumps tend to be sweeter!
‘Iwasaki Mikan Farm’ in Shizuoka Prefecture offers all-you-can-eat mikan picking. The farm doesn’t use any pesticides during the cultivation process, so the mikan are healthy and organic!
Some of these recommended farms and orchards do not only specialize in one fruit. For instance, ‘Nakagomi Orchard’ offers both cherry picking as well as peach picking, and even persimmon picking! If you want to check which fruits you can pick during each season, simply take a look at their website or give them a quick call.
Whether you’re a local or a tourist, fruit picking is a fun activity that you can enjoy during any season. You can go fruit picking alone, or share the fun with your friends and family. Fruit picking is a great way to relax both mentally and physically while enjoying some healthy, sweet, and delicious treats!
Featured photo from Christina Oshima @peachpiesweet
Interested in fruit picking and other local activities? Book a consulting call with our local experts to prepare for your next trip!
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