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ホーム > Cherry picking in Japan’s Southern Alps

Cherry picking in Japan’s Southern Alps

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          There are two names that Yamanashi prefecture is by known across Japan by—one being Japan’s wine country, and another being the Fruit Kingdom. For those who want a bite of some of the freshest, juiciest and most delicious fruits they ever had-- we recommend swinging by the prefecture during the harvest season of your fruit of choice for an opportunity to grab a mouthful of pure heaven. Some of the more famous fruit boasted by the prefecture include peaches, grapes, and plums. However, you can also grab a bite of the prefectures delicious strawberries, cherries, blueberries, apples, and persimmons as well.

          This time around, we took the journey over to Minami Alps (eng: the Southern Alps) located in the North-Western region of Yamanashi Prefecture. It was here that we found “Kanemaru Farms” a small Cherry picking farm run by Katsumi Kanemaru, a friendly older woman some ways past her 80s. Cherry picking season in Yamanashi generally lasts from Mid-May to Early July, so our mid-June visit was perfect timing to enjoy a large array of perfectly ripe Yamanashi Cherries.

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          During our visit we had the great chance to meet Yamanashi’s famously adorable mascot character, Hishimaru-kun. A cartoonish version of Yamanashi’s native dog the kai-ken wearing the helmet of the local samurai warlord and hero Takeda Shingen. Welcomed in by this mighty yet adorable mascot, we sanitized our hands grabbed a basket and began to pick. The trick, Mrs. Kanemaru told us—was to make sure to get ones that were a bright red and color and to pull them by the stem in the direction from which the stem grew. I had always been used to those deep scarlet red cherries often found in America, so seeing the orange and red hues of these delicious fruits was a bit of a surprise. They also had a much sweeter and less tangy flavor than what I was used to which I actually preferred so if you have never had Japanese cherries before I definitely recommend coming to pick some delicious ones for yourself.  

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          This year, due to the effects of the Covid-19 Coronavirus, the usual amount of cherry-picking families and tourists had become a mere fraction of what it was before—leaving Mrs. Kanemaru to focus more on picking the cherries herself and selling them at places such as supermarkets. However, one of the biggest charms of her cherry picking farm is that with no time limit you’re allowed to pick—and eat as much as you like for as long as you want for 2,100yen per adult. And for those who were in for a bit of a challenge, some of my friends and I climbed a latter to get the precious jewels that were at the very top branches.

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          With the sanitation measures taken by those at the farm (all guests must sanitize their hands at the door) as well as the fact that it was an open-air space, we felt entirely at ease as we picked our fill. Plus there is just something utterly satisfying about being able to pick the fruit you are going to eat with your own hands. Perhaps it is the senses of our hunter-gatherer ancestors tingling within us—or maybe just the glee of being released from days on end of working from home. Regardless it was quite the enjoyable feeling.

          For those who would prefer to simply grab some fruit on their own without the labor, it is very common for cherry picking farms and other fruit picking places to allow people to buy fruit directly from them. But even still I highly recommend picking your own. Even Hishimaru-kun tried his hand at it after all. It’s quite simple, super fun and absolutely delicious so for your own little taste of the little red jewels of Japan’s Fruit kingdom go fruit picking in Yamanashi today!

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For more information on fruit picking in Yamanashi please visit ↓

https://www.yamanashi-kankou.jp/umaiinet/facility/cherry/index.html( External link )