5. Fruit Carving in Tokyo
As many Japanese people love seasonal fruits, flowers and design, some people take fruit carving almost as serious as the art of tea ceremony and ikebana. Why not experience it in Tokyo? The Fruit Academy is only one of the many established institutions that offer fruit carving for serious caterers and chefs, or for newbie fruit enthusiasts. If you're a tourist, you're welcome to prettify your fruit and eat it too! There are also home-based, half-day activities offered by moms or culture enthusiasts at their homes.
4. Beat the Summer Heat by Beating Watermelon
Why not give your watermelons a whack before eating them? Experience the fun Japanese summer tradition of suikawari if you happen to be in Japan during the summer months. Similar to a candy-filled piñata in several Western countries, you have to be willing to be blindfolded before giving this a go. Try not to have any inhibitions in losing your poise as you hold the stick and attempt to hit the watermelon until it gets split for everyone to enjoy. Worst case scenario, you might exert too much effort and end up beating the melon into million little pieces. But whatever happens, whether the smashed fruit is still edible or not, this is a guaranteed fun thing to do on beaches near Tokyo or parks within Tokyo during summer.
3. Urban Farming with Hackerfarm
If you want a literal farm-to-table experience with your fruits, try joining the monthly farm party hosted by the Chiba-based Hackerfarm. Enjoy a carefree weekend with like-minded individuals who are discovering the ways of urban farming and applying technology to improve existing farming practices. Pick fruit, hold a hoe, catch a butterfly—there are just so many things to enjoy beyond simply eating fruit at a farm! If you sign up for their Facebook group or participate in one of their Meetup events, you can be updated on the next opportunity to enjoy a day at the farm.
2. Preserve Fruits by the Foot of Mount Fuji
During summer, the base of Mount Fuji, surrounded by the Five Lakes, is teeming with flowers and abundant produce. One of the ideal stops to catch a good view of the mountain is by Lake Kawaguchi. And if you happen to be in the area, have a go at blueberry picking at Kawaguchiko Natural Living Center. This place also hosts fruit preservation or jam-making classes, which would be a very fruity and fruitful experience for those who want to truly enjoy Japan, but veering away from usual touristy spots.
1. Fruit Picking in Yamanashi
If you've always wanted to experience those picturesque scenes in movies filmed in orchards, then head to Yamanashi, which is only about an hour and a half train ride from Tokyo. Yamanashi, where yama actually means mountain, and nashi means pear, is actually dubbed as the "king" of fruit producing prefectures. You can harvest a variety of fruits depending on the season. Grapes, peaches, cherries, blueberries—this is an experience that shouldn't be missed. Similar inaka or countryside areas that offer this experience can be found in Ibaraki and Iwate Prefectures.