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Fruit picking grows in popularity among foreign visitors to Japan

16 Comments
By Takehiro Higashi

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16 Comments
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I like that line "seeking experiences over material Goods"

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I’ve never known fruit to be immaterial....

3 ( +3 / -0 )

To each their own, but I don't feel like flying 13 hours to Japan just to pick fruit.

-3 ( +5 / -8 )

Michael J - thought exactly the same.

What does this mean - "..With more tourists seeking experiences over material goods during their trips.."

I suppose it means paying ¥1,900 to pick'neat as many strawberries as you can in 40mins is more "real an experience" than paying the same for a nice relaxed meal in a rural eatery.

I love the idea though, of getting more tourists into the heartland(s) of Japan to "experience" a world other than neon, shops, tech and temples.

But rural businesses will need to think widely and carefully about visitors needs and wants if they wish their ventures to succeed.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Used to go fruit picking a lot as a child, it was a day out in the country with strawberries thrown in too.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

LOL...Why bother picking the fruit, when you can get the people BUYING it to pick it ?

2 ( +4 / -2 )

This is very fuzzy. Fruit picking is a job for travellers to earn money in most countries. But, in Japan, as usual, you have to pay them instead of getting paid for your work. TIJ!

2 ( +6 / -4 )

I remember picking fruits in the U.S. for reasonable prices. It was an enjoyable experience; take your time, fill your bucket (peaches, blackberries, blueberries, apples, grapes.) In France, it was strawberries. Of course, cheaper than store prices; sometimes much cheaper.

Here in Japan, it's a total rip off. All the U-Pick places that I've been to, like browny1 posted, charge around 2000 Yen per 30 minutes, all you can eat. Of course, anything you pick and want to take home is extra, and usually quite expensive. And, no, it tasted no different than the fruit bought elsewhere. Totally takes the joy out of it. I'll just go to the grocery store.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Its great, the more those places come up, the more reasonable costs will be....

Rural areas in Japan have lots and lots to offer, both in hospitality, quality ,costs and experience... the more people will see it the better idea they will have about how Japan is really like , and not that compressed ultra urbanized,stressed and cold ( emotionally) Tokyo...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

As a child I picked wild fruits, raspberries and apples, never thought that would be a tourist attraction. Missed the boat I guess.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I hear it’s also popular with toddlers.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I don't quite agree with the opinions here. Fruits picking is a great experience and much more delicious than buying crappy-tasting fruits in central Tokyo. Nothing in the stores can really compare to an all-you-can-eat grapes in Yamanashi or strawberries in Tochigi. Surely, you pay around 1500-2000 JPY, but 30 minutes is enough to stuff yourself with lots of fruits. Problem is, Japanese don't really understand the concept of all-you-can-eat; they spend the time taking photos, posing with cherries and not really eating much, so for them this experience is indeed a rip-off. When I got into a strawberry greenhouse, it doesn't have much left after 30 minutes. After all, that's the point of driving all the way to the farm, isn't it?

As for the foreign travelers, the data is quite skewed. Fruits picking appeals only to some particular countries, namely Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong, a bit from Taiwan, but virtually no one from the Western countries and very few from Korea/China go for fruits picking. It's a specific-target activity. Plus, the accessibility problems make it difficult to reach the farms without a rental car.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Yeah, its good for growers, because they don't have to pick the fruit, which can be huge amounts of work for small fruit like blueberries. They can also grow very perishable varieties of strawberries that would not survive packaging and shipping with the perfect appearance customers demand. These varieties tend to be tastier, especially when fully ripened, than the sturdy ones that are packaged and shipped.

When I went a few years ago, the strawberries were eaten with a little cup of that sticky condensed milk that comes in a tube. The strawberries were great, but that stuff is too sweet and sickly for me.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This is something that happens in plenty of countries.  A day out picking fruit is fun.  you can eat as you pick and also buy a lot to take home or for friends or whatever.  Good to see our countryside marketing itself in novel ways.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Still too expensive, and often these picking trips are slapped onto larger tours, like when a tour bus will take a "necessary" stop at souvenir shops off the expressway, suggesting you go in and check them out.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Seems ok if you are within the general vicinity, but if this is your main activity for the day and paying train/bus/tour costs to get there from Tokyo, then you would get a better deal buying fruit from the grocery store.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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