Strawberry picking in Yoshimi Town, Saitama Prefecture. Yoshimi town is well regarded for strawberry picking. In fact, according to the Prefectural website, Yoshimi is number one for strawberries in Saitama.
Winter / Spring strawberry picking is popular for family and school outings in Japan from February through May. However, some of the winter strawberry green houses open for picking as early as mid December. Our local greenhouses, with public strawberry picking, open officially from next week. We got in ahead of the crowd and enjoyed a half hour of all-you-can-eat, pick your own, strawberries today in Yoshimi Town.
Ichigo no Sato in Yoshimi Town is one of the better known strawberry picking areas in Saitama. Ichigo no Sato is a “roadside station” (道の駅) on prefectural route 27, but it is also the overall name for the strawberry picking area. Supposedly the area has been cultivating strawberries for sixty years. “Ichigo” is the japanese for strawberry and this rest area was so named after the strawberry fields in the area.
Ichigo no Sato
The Ichigo no Sato rest area has a very nice playground and a fruit and vegetable shops and stalls. It also has an udon restaurant, an ice-cream van, a cafe & bakery, and facilities for people on long journeys such as restrooms and changing rooms. The ice-cream shop sells a delicious strawberry flavored ice-cream all year round. The roadside station holds a regular market and several seasonal events. One event that is a huge hit with kids is the splash and lantern festival. Information about the playground at the roadside station on this blog:
There is a strawberry picking greenhouse right beside the roadside station. Moreover, the rest area provides a map (below) and information for strawberry picking in the area. There is now also information online for each of the strawberry farms here.
Strawberry picking Yoshimi
The price varies greatly between each strawberry picking farm, not only within Yoshimi, but surrounding areas too. Note, the price for strawberry picking in greenhouses changes as the weather warms, with December through March being more expensive than April and May. Logical when you think of the extra expense of keeping a greenhouse at the right temperature during the cold months. Speaking of which, greenhouses can often be uncomfortably warm and humid, especially if you are wearing heavy winter clothes.
The prices, as well as contact details and webpages where applicable, of the strawberry farms on the above map can be seen in the photo above.
Imanishi Strawberry Picking Farm
The greenhouse we chose, ①-1 on the picking map, is Imanishi Strawberry Park (on google maps here). It offers 30 minutes all you can pick and eat strawberries for 600* yen for a child aged 3 and up to 6th grade elementary school and 1200* yen for anything older than that. From April 1st, the prices come down to 500 yen for children and a 1000 yen for adults. If you want to buy strawberries you’ve picked, but haven’t eaten it costs 100 yen per 100 gram. 30 minutes was plenty time with young children. (*2014 – 2018 prices, please see the official website for most up to date prices).
They have strawberry hats that customers can wear for a photo! (Modelled in the featured photo at the very top of the post!) Please note this particular farm in not barrier free. There is a car park right out front with room for about 6 cars in front of the greenhouse. There is also an area to parallel park on the road behind it. Their internet site says they have a toilet.
Strawberry picking at Imanishi in 2023
Imanishi will open one of their greenhouses for picking on Tuesday January 3rd 2023. No reservation is required – first come, first served. They don’t have a schedule online that you can consult, so they strongly recommend that you ring in advance to make sure they are open. Update April 30th: one of the greenhouses finished today for the season. The other expects to finish in a day or two.
There is no train line in Yoshimi. If you are coming by public transport you will need to get a train to either Higashimatsuyama station on the Tobu Tojo Line or Konosu Station on the JR Takasaki line and then get either a taxi or bus to the strawberry picking area or farm or your choice.
By car: the nearest interchanges are the Higashimatsuyama Interchange on the Kanetsu expressway and the Kawajima Interchange on the Ken-o expressway. Both are about a 20 minute drive from Ichigo no Sato.
Nearby Attractions include:
- Cosmos Festival and Scarecrows | YOSHIMI
- Hatchoko Park | YOSHIMI
- Anrakuji Yoshimi Kannon
- Luminous Moss, Military Factory and the 100 Caves of Yoshimi
- Natural Cafe Sora | YOSHIMI
- Ghibli-esque Herbal House | YOSHIMI
There are strawberry picking areas in the neighbouring town of Kawajima too. Most of those farms are still closed for business, but there is one open called Strawberry Hunt. These greenhouses also often 30 minute all-you-can-eat, but at the more expensive price of 1,600 yen for adults and 1,100 yen for children from January through May. The address is 1072 Mushizuka, Kawajima Town.
Other areas in Saitama known for strawberry picking include Chichibu City, Ranzan, Yokoze and Kawajima Towns. Our favourite is in Sakado and that one has a play area too:
If you can read Japanese, you can find links to strawberry picking farms on the Saitama prefectural website. For an overview of the fruit picking seasons, Japan Guide has a good summary here.