Fruits are treated as delicacies in Japan, with apples and pears being grown incredibly big and given a price tag that would boggle many westerners. However, with this price tag comes quality, in Japan, being given a gift of mangoes might have the same effect as a nice watch would to people from western countries.
With this reputation, it’s no wonder why fruits are so popular in the country, and a common activity for families and friends is to go out to a farm or orchard personally and picking the fruit right off the tree. Usually the fruit picked is eaten right there and then. Not only popular as a healthy and delicious snack, it’s also common to give these fruit as gifts, or Omiyage (お土産) for coworkers or friends after returning from your travels, particularly if they are a local specialty (although, it’s best to check with the farm’s staff, as it’s not always permitted).
Here are just a few of many great places around the Kanto area (greater Tokyo) that you can visit to hand pick delicious fruit at almost any time of year!
#1. Nakagomi Orchard – Yamanashi
Nakagomi Orchard is located in Kofu, Yamanashi prefecture, west of Tokyo, it offers the chance to pick a variety of 10 different fruits including, cherries, nectarines, peaches, pears, grapes, apples, and persimmons. Of course, the availability of these fruits depend on the season, although bookings are available from the start of June (Cherry) until the end of December (Persimmon).
The orchard has an English speaking guide who can help you with any problems in getting to the orchard or what to do after arriving. The total trip from Tokyo is a bit long at around 2 hours and 30 minutes, but Yamanashi is one of three prefectures bordering Mt Fuji, Japan’s largest and most beautiful mountain, so making this part of a weekend trip to see the mountain is a good way to make the most of the distance. Please note: Nakagomi Orchard doesn’t allow taking fruits home, but does offer unlimited picking and eating of the fruits on the day, so the trip to Yamanashi offers as much fruit as you can eat.
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Address: 2281-1 Iino, Minami Alps City, Yamanashi Prefecture
Access: From Shinjuku Station, take the Chuo Line limited express train to Kofu, from there take a local bus called the Yamanashi Kotsu bus toward Nishino Keiyu, after around 30 minutes you’ll arrive at Sangai bus stop, from here Nakagomi Orchard is just a short walk away.
Picking Season: June – December (fruit available will vary)
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (June-September)
10:00 PM – 4:00 PM (October-December)
Fee: Admission Fee
Website: Nakagomi Orchard
*Reservation is available and preferred
#2. Mother Farm – Chiba
Mother Farm is large and spacious in Chiba’s Boso Peninsula calls itself a “flowers and animals entertainment farm” and offers picking sessions for a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables from January (Strawberry) until August (Blueberry).
Photo Credit:MOTHER FARM CO., LTD.
The fruit picking sessions are first come first served, so doesn’t require a reservation. As the name would suggest, Mother Farm is filled with many other activities to try, these include: sheep herding and shearing, pig races, and horseback riding as well as many other things. For those looking simply to relax, there are huge fields of flowers to walk around and enjoy the rural surroundings. The journey takes around 2 hours but much like Nakagomi, is located in an area with a lot to see and do, making it another great activity to try on your weekend trip away from Tokyo or a day out in the very refreshing natural scenery impossible to find in the world’s biggest metropolis.
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Address: 940-3 Tagura, Futtsu City, Chiba Prefecture
Access: From Tokyo Station, take the rapid service Sobu line underground train for Kimitsu or Tateyama, and get off at Kimitsu Station, from here, take the bus which departs from the south exit of Kimitsu station, which will take you to the farm directly.
Season: All year (fruit available will vary)
February – December:
Weekday: 9:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Weekend: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
December – January:
Weekday: 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Weekend: 9:30 AM – 4:00 PM
1,500 Yen (Adult)
800 Yen (Child)
*Fruit Picking Fee be added separately
Website: Mother Farm
#3. Kawatsura Strawberry Farm – Chiba
Photo Credit:Kawatsura Strawberry Farm
From December, the delicious strawberries from Kawatsura’s strawberry farm in the east of Chiba prefecture are available for picking and eating.
Photo Credit:Osamu Iwasaki@flickr
Throughout winter and spring, a visit to Kawatsura’s enclosed greenhouse is a great way to pick and sample some of the best strawberries in Japan, as well as this, boxes of fresh strawberries can be purchased to take home with you from the farm.
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Kawatsura Strawberry Farm
Address: 478 Hayafune, Sanmu City, Chiba Prefecture
Access: Take the Shiosai express train from Tokyo Station to Naruto Station, takes around 1 hour 10 minutes. From here, a taxi is the easiest way to get to the farm, taking around 8 minutes.
Season: December – May
December – February
10:00 AM – 2:30 PM (Weekday)
9:30 AM – 2:30(Weekend and Holiday)
March – May
10:00 AM – 3:30 PM (Weekday)
9:30 AM – 3:30 PM (Weekend)
*Closed December 20.29-January 2
December 15 – January 4
2,000 yen (Adult), 1,500 yen (4-6 years), 500 yen (under 4)
January 5 – February 28
1,600 yen (Adult), 1,300 yen (4-6 years) , 500 yen (under 4)
Mar 1 – Mar 31
1,500 yen (Adult) , 1,100 yen (4-6 years), 500 yen (under 4)
April 1 – Early May
1,100 yen(Adults), 700 yen (4-6 years), 300 yen (under 4)
Website: Kawatsura Strawberry Farm
#4. Kasumigaura – Ibaraki
Ibaraki prefecture borders Saitama and Chiba and is Japan’s second largest producer of fruit and vegetables, as a result, fruit picking is popular in the prefecture and the products grown are among the most delicious in Japan. Kasumigaura farm is a fruit farm near the Kasumigaura bay and Mt. Tsukuba, two of Ibaraki’s most famous natural landmarks, making it a great stop on a bigger tour of the area.
The farm produces a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables for picking, admission varies on what you want to pick. Depending on the time of year that you visit, options include: strawberries, blueberries, grapes, pears, chestnuts, satsuma potatoes, and persimmons.
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Address: Kasumigaura City, Ibaraki Prefecture
Access: Take the Joban Line from Tokyo Station to Kandatsu Station, 15 minute taxi ride from there
Season: All year (fruit available will vary)
500 yen (Adult) 400 yen (Child) 300 yen (over 3)
900 yen (Adult) 600 yen (Child) 600 yen (over 3)
December – January: 1,600 yen (Adult) 1,300 yen (Child) 500 yen (over 3)
Feburuary – March: 1,500 yen (Adult) 1,200 yen (Child) 400 yen (over 3)
April: 1,200 yen (Adult) 1,000 yen (Child) 300 yen (over 3)
May – June: 1,000 yen (Adult) 800 yen (Child) 300 yen (over 3)
Website: Kasumigaura (Japanese)
#5. Wada Farm, Chiba
Wada Farm is close to Narita in the northern side of Chiba prefecture, it’s known for it’s organic strawberries that visitors can come and pick themselves. If strawberries aren’t your thing then many other choices are available for purchase (depending on the season) such as: melon, watermelon, grapes and seasonal vegetables.
As well as the fruit, Wada Farm also organizes live events performed by local artists.
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Address: 906-1 Hiraga, Inzai City, Chiba Prefecture
40 minute walk from Keisei-shisui Station or ride bus for Gauendai, and get off at Gakuendai-Iriguchi busstop
Keisei-shisui Station takes around 1 hour 10 minutes from Tokyo Station. First take the Yamanote line to Nippori Station. There, you can change to the Keisei line, which will take you to Keisei-shisui. From here a taxi can take you to the farm in around 10 minutes.
Season: January 25 – May
Hours: 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
January- Feburuary: 1,800 yen (Adult over 6) 1,500 yen (Child age 3-5 )
March: 1,600 yen (Adult over 6) 1,300 yen (Child age 3-5 )
April: 1,300 yen (Adult over 6) 1,000 yen (Child age 3-5 )
March: 1,100 yen (Adult over 6) 900 yen (Child age 3-5 )
Website: Wada Farm (Japanese)