Fruit picking is a popular family activity in Japan, and farms across the country offer the opportunity to pick fruit directly from the tree from their orchards. Typically farms will charge visitors a set amount for a set period of time; fees range from 800 to 3000 yen or more, and the set times generally run from 30-60 minutes, although some do not insist on a time limit. In some cases they may also charge by the weight of the fruit picked, or will allow you to pick as much as you want and will exchange your basket for a pre-packaged and weighed bag. It all depends on the farm.
The grape picking season generally runs from late summer and into early autumn, with Aichi’s warm coastal areas of the Chita Peninsula, Gamagori, and Okazaki particularly famed for their grape farms. In Aichi there tends to be two types of grape farmed: the Kyoho, which is a large, thick skinned, purple grape, and the Delaware grape, a smaller, soft, sometimes seedless variety. With both it generally pays to peel them before eating, as the skins tend to be quite sour, and has the added advantage of making you feel like a Roman caesar!
There are many grape farms in the area at which you can go along, pick and eat. Below are just a few.
At the Gamagori Orange Park you are not allowed to take grapes home, although you may eat as much as you want inside the park. For those wanting to dine on something other than just grapes, barbecue sets are available, with all equipment and food supplied. Reservations are required for both grape picking and barbecue.
Okazaki Komadachi Grape Farms are an association of seven grape farms in Okazaki (Shibakyu-en, Yamasa-en, Yamaoka, Kaen, Marukyo-Kaen, Joka-en, Koka-en and Maruta-en) that all offer grape picking sets. Some include a take home option for which there is an additional fee. There are barbecue areas, though you are required to bring your own equipment
Reservations are not required for individuals and small groups of less than 20. The standard option is of the all-you-can-eat variety, but you may take some home for an additional charge.
Marusada Grape Farm is not only one of the seven of the Higashiura Morioka Budoen association of 32 grape farms that allows visitors to pick their own grapes, but it is also the most convenient. It is of the all-you-can-eat variety of farm, but visitors are requested to buy any leftover grapes that they have picked from the vine. Scissors, bucket, collection basket, and mat are all provided. A web discount coupon is available: www.hm-grape.com/coupon
At Mikunien you really are there for the day out. There is a 90 minute picking from 10:00 followed by lunch at 11:30. You can bring your own meals and drinks, while BBQ sets can be brought or rented on site. After lunch there is time children to play on the amusements. Rugs and tables, baskets needed for grape hunting, scissors are all rented free of charge. A discount coupon can be found here.