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.
Gamagori Orange Park
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.
- Grapes: Delaware grapes (until July) – Adults 1080 JPY, children 972 JPY, pre-schoolers 540 JPY;
Kyoho grapes (August to September) – Adults 1620 JPY, children 1512 JPY, pre-schoolers 1080 JPY.
- Open: Daily 09:00-17:00
- Address: Ogurimi 1-93, Seida-cho, Gamagori City (map)
- Website: orepa.sakura.ne.jp
- Tel: 0533-68-2321.
Okazaki Komadachi Grape Farms
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
- Grapes: Delaware grapes (August 1 – August 30) Adults 1200 JPY (1600 JPY with take home option), children 900 JPY, pre-schoolers 600 JPY;
Steuben grapes (September 1 – October 10) Adults 1200 JPY (1600 JPY with take home option), children 900 JPY, pre-schoolers 600 JPY;
Kyoho grapes (August 20 – October 10) Adults 1600 JPY, children 1100 JPY, pre-schoolers 800 JPY;
Seedless Kyoho (August 20 – August 31) Adults 1600 JPY, children 1100 JPY, pre-schoolers 800 JPY
- Address: Okazaki City, Komadachi-cho (see relevant websites for addresses)
- Websites: shibaqen.tumblr.com, nande.com/yamasaen, nande.com/coma-grape/yamaoka.htm, marukyo-kaen.jp, jyokaen/index.htm, kohkaen.com, marutaen.net
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.
- Grapes: Seedless Delaware grapes (August 5 – August 14) Adults 1000 JPY (take home option 1500 JPY), elementary age children 800 JPY, pre-schoolers 500 JPY.
Kyoho grapes (August 23 – September 17) Adults 1400 JPY, children 900 JPY, pre-schoolers 600 JPY.
- Open: Daily 9:00-17:00
- Address: Obu Shi, Nagane-cho 2-180 (map)
- Website: www.grape-obu.jp
- Tel: 0562-46-4911
Marusada Grape Farm
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
- Grapes: Kyoho grapes (August 20 – mid-September). Adults 1500 JPY, elementary age children 1000 JPY, pre-schoolers (aged 4 and up) 500 JPY.
- Open: 9:00-17:00.
- Address: Chita gun, Higashiura-cho, Morioka-ikebata 2 (map)
- Website: www.hm-grape.com/mame
- Tel: 0562-83-0624. Reservations are required.
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.
- Grapes: Seedless Delaware grapes. Adults 1300 JPY (take home option 1600 JPY), elementary age children 850 JPY, pre-schoolers 550 JPY.
Kyoho grapes. Adults 1600 JPY, children 1050 JPY, pre-schoolers 750 JPY.
- Open: 9:00-16:30.
- Address: 18 Aza-Nakasarata, Komadachi-cho, Okazaki (map)
- Website: mikunien-okazaki.com
- Tel: 0564-45-5000. Reservations are required.