Picking fresh fruit is a popular – and refreshing – pastime in Japan. In the Kansai region, there are many farms and orchards where you can roam around and pluck produce straight from the plant. You pay either by weight or time slot, depending on the farm. Some farms, in particular, stand out as the best options for going fruit picking.
You can pick many different types of fruit in Kansai. Some venues specialize in just one fruit, whereas others have several on offer. Some of the main varieties, along with their harvest seasons, are:
Strawberries – All year, although the best period is December to May
Cherries – April to August, with the best months being June and July
Grapes – May to November
Blueberries – April to September
Peaches – June to September
Apples – August to November
Pears – September to February
Mikan (Mandarin Oranges) – October to January
Spread across 20 hectares of fields in the Tondabayashi area; Savor Farm has an old-fashioned, rustic charm. It offers an excellent selection, including grapes, mikan, blueberries, pears, and a few types of vegetables. It’s a family-friendly site – there’s even an adventure fort for kids – and you can learn about different Asian fruits and vegetables in the viewing area. The farm is open until 6:00 p.m. in summer and until 5:00 p.m. from October to March. The entrance fee is 700 yen for adults and 300 yen for children.
Address: 2300 Kanabi, Tondabayashi, Osaka Prefecture 584-0054
Wakayama is a prime strawberry-picking region in Kansai. One of the biggest and best locations is the Kishigawa Sightseeing Strawberry Picking Association. You’ll find all-you-can-eat freshly-picked strawberries with no time limit. Most of the produce is housed within a 3,000-square-meter greenhouse. The farm even has its own brand: ‘Marihime’ strawberries, cultivated with biotechnology. The farm is a 15-minute walk from Kishi station. Entry is 1,500 yen for adults.
Address: 238 Kishigawa-cho, Kinokawa, Wakayama Prefecture 640-0413
An attractive roadside park, Aguri Park Ryuo is a tourist attraction that offers fruit picking, a market, a petting zoo, paddle boats, and a golf course. In terms of fruit, there are strawberries, pears, plums, grapes, persimmon, and some vegetables, including sweet potatoes. Entry is 1,000 to 1,200 yen for adults.
Address: 6526 Yamanoue Ryuo, Gamo, Shiga Prefecture 520-2531
Shigisan Nodokamura Farm has 30 different types of all-you-can-eat fruit picking, including strawberries and blueberries. It makes for an excellent stay-over location, as there is a campsite, BBQ facilities, and a mini-farm that offers activities ranging from jam-making to egg gathering. Fruit-picking sessions are first-come, first-served rather than booked in advance. You can reach the farm by shuttle bus from Oji station. The entrance fee is 1,500 yen for adults.
Address: 1-7-1 Shigi-minamihata, Sangocho, Ikoma, Nara Prefecture 636-0833
Another multipurpose facility, Kobe Fruit & Flower Park, is a European-style park with fruit gardens, an amusement park, an onsen, a children’s theater, and a popular hotel nearby. You pay for your fruit by the kilogram. There are opportunities to pick grapes, pears, apples, peaches, and strawberries. The park is a 15-minute ride from Oka station.
Address: Kamiozo 2150, Ozocho, Kita-cho, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture 651-1522
Kyoto Ohara Blueberry Farm is the only farm in Kyoto where you can eat your blueberries right after you pick them. It’s reachable by bus from downtown Kyoto (the trip takes between 30 minutes and an hour). In addition to picking your blueberries, you can purchase blueberry products in the café, including blueberry desserts. You may also like to order a pizza, which will be cooked in the stone oven. It’s best to visit the farm on a hot day because you can go for a dip in the nearby river after lunch — it’s a popular bathing spot among children and adults alike.
Address: 206, Ohara Koideishi-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto City, Kyoto Prefecture
An indoor place where you can go strawberry picking is GrandBerry in Osaka, just 10 minutes from Onji Station. Visitors must wear slippers when picking the strawberries, and the floor is covered in a sheet to avoid dust contaminating the fruit. You’ll find it more comfortable picking strawberries here than in a field because the plants are raised off the ground to a height that’s accessible for both adults and children. You have 30 minutes to pick as many strawberries as you can eat. The best time of year to go is during the winter because these ‘Akihime’ brand strawberries become sweeter and juicer as the weather becomes colder.
Address: 1-254 Onji Kitamachi, Yao, Osaka Prefecture
To pick Muscat Berry A grapes, head to Kamide Kanko Vineyard in Kobe. You can rent scissors and buckets to carry the grapes you pick and rugs to sit under the grape vines and have a picnic lunch. A shop is also on-site to purchase Pione and Shine Muscat grapes. Reaching the vineyard is an eight-minute walk from the old Noguchi bus stop.
Address: 1148-102 Higashi, Kamide-cho, Nishi-ku, Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture
Nothing beats spending time outdoors and picking some fruit when the weather is nice. Choose a farm that grows your favorite fruit, or go somewhere with a variety to have a selection of fresh fruit to snack on.