In Japan, fruits are grown year-round in different regions of the country. In many of the fields, you can experience fruit picking during the right seasons. Here is a guide to what fruits to pick in each season, and the best places for it!
Strawberry Picking (Dec. to May)
Strawberries stock up on their sweetness and deliciousness in the colder winter months. Since strawberries can be made in greenhouses, strawberry-picking season lasts for a while.
In some places, strawberry picking begins as early as early December. Most places begin in mid-January. Strawberries made in greenhouses can typically be picked in January and February.
How to find the best strawberries
Pay attention to the stem!
In order to find and pick the best strawberries out of the field, pay attention to the berries’ stems.
Sweet strawberries tend to have darker stems that curl upwards. The darker the stem, the riper the strawberry.
Where to go strawberry picking
Since strawberries can be made in greenhouses, there are many places throughout Japan that offer the strawberry picking experience.
If you want to stay in the Kanto area, “TOKYO STRAWBERRY PARK” is a good option. Located in Yokohama, the strawberries here are all grown indoors, meaning you can go strawberry picking any time of the year.
Other areas in Japan that are famous for strawberries and strawberry picking is Tochigi, famous for the “Tochiotome” strawberry brand, and Fukuoka, famous for the “Amaou” strawberry brand.
Cherry Picking (June to July)
Japanese cherries are smaller compared to ones from other countries. Cherries are in season during the early summer months, although it depends on the type of cherry. The Satonishiki cherry, one of the most popular types, is picked in late June. In June and July, you can go cherry picking in some areas in Japan.
How to find the best cherries
Get the cherries at the top!
Cherries get sweeter with more sunlight, and therefore, the ones at the top of the tree tend to be the sweetest. Many of the cherry picking fields offer ladders, so if you really want the best ones, borrow them and grab the ones at the top.
Where to go cherry picking
Cherry picking is common throughout the country, but the most famous is in Yamagata prefecture. Yamagata is the number one cherry-producing prefecture, producing about 70% of the country’s cherries. There are over 400 cherry picking orchards in the prefecture.
Grape Picking (Aug. to Nov.)
Grapes are an autumn delicacy. Typically, grapes are picked between the late summer months and the late autumn months. Japan is the country that the most types of grapes in the world, with over 40 types being grown.
The “kyoho” grape is one of the most well-known types of grape in Japan. Delaware grapes and muscats can be picked here in Japan, too. Each different type of grape has their own picking season, so make sure to check when your favorite grape is in season.
How to find the best grapes
Look at the color!
To pick the sweetest, most delicious grapes, pay attention to the color of them. For grapes that are dark in color, like the “kyoho” grape, the darker the better.
Also look for the stem. If the stem looks like it is being pulled down by the grapes, it is a good sign.
A heads up during grape picking…
One thing to keep in mind when grape picking is to finish the whole bunch before picking the next. Taking just one grape from the bunch is unmannerly, so avoid doing that, too.
Where to go grape picking
Some popular areas for grape picking are Yamanashi prefecture and Nagano prefecture. Yamanashi prefecture is said to be the first place in Japan that began producing grapes.
Apple Picking (Aug. to Dec.)
Apples picking usually takes place in the latter half of the year. Japan is known for popular apple types such as the Japan’s most-produced “fuji”, “tsugaru” known for its sweetness, and the golden yellow “ourin”. Apples can be picked as early as August until December.
How to find the best apples
Make sure it’s not dull-looking!
Sweet, crisp apples have a shine to them. Also pay attention to the stem – the thicker the better.
Where to go apple picking
Aomori prefecture is the place to go for apple picking. They are the number one apple producers in Japan. If you want somewhere closer to Tokyo, then Nagano prefecture is also great for apple picking.
Mikan Picking (Oct. to Jan.)
Mikan is a Japanese winter staple. “Mikan” is Japanese for mandarin orange, and it can be picked between late October and January. Although it may vary by the type of mikan, the best month for mikan picking is November.
How to find the best mikan
The smaller the sweeter!
When choosing the right mikan, look for its size. Smaller mikan tend to be sweeter.
On the skin of the mikan, you will find little dots. If the dots are denser, then the mikan is sweeter and more delicious.
Where to go mikan picking
Mikan is generally produced in the warmer areas of Japan, like Ehime prefecture and Wakayama prefecture. If you want to go somewhere closer to Tokyo, then Shizuoka prefecture, which is the third largest mikan producer in Japan, is also a great place for mikan picking.
When in doubt, go to Yamanashi!
If you’re still lost on where to go for fruit picking, Yamanshi prefecture is always a safe bet. It is one of the biggest fruit producing prefectures in Japan, with grapes and peaches and strawberries and cherries and persimmons and more! You can visit Yamanashi on a day trip from Tokyo.