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Sunday, 24 September 2017

Picking Grapes and Pears in Imari

I decided to bring my mom and bro fruit picking while they were here because this is something that you can't do in Singapore (mushroom picking, maybe? I'm not sure if the mushroom farm allows that). We decided to go to 樋口果樹園 (higuchi kajyuuen) because my coworker recommended it and because the grapes she shared with me were really, really good.

Unfortunately, the place wasn't on Google maps and I couldn't find a website for them, though I did find a phone number. So here is the route we took:

Head towards the ふるさと村 駅の道 (furusatomura eki no michi), which is a rest stop. Side note: you could spend some time there too. I hopped off the car to ask for directions and there was a market and performances going on and it does look like a pretty interesting place.

Anyway, there's a traffic light just in front of where you turn into the carpark for ふるさと村 駅の道 . Go past the traffic light and look for a narrow road leading to a red bridge before the next set of traffic lights. Turn into that road and cross the bridge. Follow the path up the mountain and you will see the farm on the left side of the road.

These are the prices. It's 500 yen for 1kg of pears and between 2000 and 3000 per kg of grape (depending on the variety of grape that you choose).

There was actually no more parking space but the staff here were extremely family and managed to conjure up a spot for us! The rest area + cashiers are at the pear areas!

The first thing the staff did was to give us a plate of pears. This was before we paid so my mom and I were a bit surprised. The pears were incredibly sweet and juicy and so good! I also saw people getting seconds but one plate was enough for us (please don't go and just eat all the pears and leave without paying anything).

It was really lovely to eat under the pear trees! By the way, you can't pick the pears in this area - there are specific areas where you can pick the fruits, so be sure to ask someone before you start.

We decided to get both pears and grapes!

my mom having fun. 
 The grapes are located on the other side of the road.

If you decide to get both grapes and pears, you will need two baskets. So do let the staff know if you intend to get both types of fruit.

Like with the pears, only certain areas of the grapes were available for us to pick.

We got the もこもこキング (moko moko king) variety of grapes! They're seedless but sweet and huge. We also got to try the grapes before we picked them. The guy there (I think he was the owner? Or at least he acted like the owner) was very friendly and insisted that we try at least two grapes of each variety, because if you're trying a new variety after having eaten one, the taste of the previous grape will still be on your tongue and so you need at least two to properly taste the grape.

I like grapes so I happily had a few.

You basically have to get a bunch at one go. The bigger ones are about 1kg each, but ours were quite small and two bunches only added up to 1kg.

You will need a car to get to this farm but it is definitely worth a visit during the grape + pear season! My mom actually brought some of the grapes and the pears back and my grandfather loved them so much he videoed called me to ask me to get more if possible (I think I'll be leaving after the season, though, so I'll have to find something else :p).

If this place is a bit too hard for you to find, there are actually a lot of orchards in the area. We drove past a least three places where you could pick grapes/buy freshly picked grapes, so there are a lot of choices. I can't really say what other places are good, but you could always go to the tourist information center at the ふるさと村 駅の道  and get a list of places and information about the area. Imari is also famous for its pottery and Okawachiyama (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) is actually a part of Imari, so you can definitely go to both places in one day!

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