Fruit picking is a very popular activity in Japan, both among visitors and locals. It may be because this activity is basically available all year round, even during winter months. Fruit picking farms charge two ways: one is by time, between 800 and 3000 yen, (between 30 – 60 minutes) depending on the fruit being picked and by weight of the fruit picked.
There are a number of fruits gardens across the country. One of the most visited gardens is the Yamanashi prefecture, which is easily accessible from Tokyo. The Wakayama Prefecture in Kansai is also well known for its fruit picking farms.
All year round, fruits are available for picking but the most popular time is during the summer and fall. Grapes are harvested from June until October. There are about 40 varieties of Grapes in Japan, and the best of its variety is “Kyoho”, the blackish-purple variety with large seeds. The flesh is very sweet and juicy. These grapes are exported to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore and other countries.
Japanese pears can be picked from September to October. Japanese pears are rounder in shape and similar to apples in size. These are usually left to ripen in their trees. “Nijusseiki” pears are are the most popular kind, and are exported overseas. This is the kind with yellow-green skin.
September to January is apple picking season. The very popular“Fuji”variety, is very juicy and sweet, and has a bright red skin. The flesh has a crispy texture and the flesh tastes like it has sugar syrup.
The“Sun-Fuji”variety is grown in areas with plenty of sunshine and is sweeter than the regular Fuji but with less beautiful skin. The most popular apple producers of Japan are found in Aomori, Nagano and Iwate Prefecture.
The very sweet and juicy mikan or Japanese mandarin is picked from September to February. These are seedless and easily peeled with your fingers. The “Unshu-mikan” is the most popular variety of mandarin orange in Japan because of its juicy and soft flesh. The most of the mandarin orchards are located in Wakayama, Ehime and Shizuoka Prefecture.
Peach picking season is from August to September. Since peaches are very delicate fruits and require special care compared to other fruits, entrance fees to these farms are more expensive. The “Hakuto”and “Hakuho” are considered the best varieties of peaches.
This activity is fairly easy to participate in. Organized tours that usually last a day can be booked through tour operator. For those who prefer to explore by themselves, most farms allow walk-in visitors but it is always wise to call in advance.
Photos from Nakagomi Orchard and Japan Guide