Springtime Travels in Japan vol.2
Strawberry Picking at Dragon Farm!
Looking for some adventures in Japan that you won’t find in your typical guidebook? Follow the springtime travels of Farng and Iki from the DiGJAPAN! editorial staff as they visit the lovely Chiba Prefecture for a day of strawberry picking at Dragon Farm.
The early bird gets the… strawberry?
Here’s the thing about Dragon Farm: they will close for the day when all the strawberries are gone. It takes a little over an hour to get from Tokyo Station to Chishirodai-Kita Station in Chiba, so you might have to wake up a little earlier than usual to get your hands on some good strawberries! But once you’re there, it’s all-you-can-eat strawberry time for thirty minutes!
You’ll know you’ve found the right place when you see the pink homemade sign decorated with strawberries.
Despite getting an early start and arriving at the farm before it opened, Farng and Iki were shocked to see that there were already people waiting to get in! What makes Dragon Farm so popular? In addition to Japanese strawberries being delicious, there are around twenty different varieties grown at Dragon Farm!
Including Japanese, Dragon Farm provides information in a total of five languages.
Here’s one of the signs written in Thai.
Dragon Farm has a selection of jams and cookies made with the farm’s own strawberries. Pick up a few things as souvenirs!
Before you begin picking, farm staff will walk you through some necessary rules and how-to’s.
Which will you choose: chocolate sauce of condensed milk?
When the farm opened for picking, the visitors were given an individual tray containing either chocolate syrup or condensed milk for dipping their strawberries.
Farng and Iki must make a difficult decision: condensed milk or chocolate?
The sweetness of the strawberries plus the creaminess of the condensed milk make for total berry bliss.
Of course, these strawberries are delicious without adding anything. Be sure to try a few plain to savour their natural goodness.
Have you ever seen a white strawberry before? You can try this unusual variety at Dragon Farm. The strawberries that have turned a pale shade of pink are ready to eat.
The farm staff shares the finer points of strawberry picking
Although strawberry picking is something anyone can do, it takes a trained eye to know exactly which strawberries will be the most delicious. It also takes a lot of experience to know the best way to eat them. The staff of Dragon Farm shared their knowledge with Farng and Iki, so now we can share it with you!
Point One: a whitish color around the hull of the strawberry means it’s completely ripe.
To get a strawberry that's perfectly ripe, pay close attention to the top of the berry. When the spot under the leaves has turned a little pale in color compared to the rest of the strawberry, there’s a good chance it's reached the perfect level of ripeness.
※Does not apply to all kinds of strawberries.
Here's where to check! See how it's whiter than the rest of the strawberry?
Point Two: eat the strawberries top first.
Save the best for last! The sweetest part of the strawberry is the tip. Though it may be tempting to eat that part first, that will leave you with the slightly less sweet top to remember your strawberry by. If you start with the top first, you'll have a sweeter finish to your berry.
Remove the top of the strawberry before eating it to get the most out of the berry.
Let's take a look at the different kinds of strawberries!
Growing twenty types of strawberries is pretty impressive, but how much does one type differ from another?
There are explanations about the strawberries written in English.
How do you think it would taste to combine a bunch of different types of strawberries?
Look at these monster strawberries! Some varieties of strawberries can be grown to reach lengths of nearly 10cm!
Know a glance: a helpful strawberry chart
Dragon farm regularly offers its guests around fifteen types of strawberries, but at times the full twenty varieties are ready to go. Here are the strawberries Farng and Iki were able to try this time at Dragon Farm.
We compiled their opinions into a helpful chart so you can get a sense of how the flavor of these strawberries differ. They evaluated the berries based on taste (sweet vs. sour) and texture (firm vs. soft).
※ Strawberries of the same variety may differ in taste and texture depending on the time of year.
※ The varieties of strawberries available to eat at Dragon Farn vary on the day / what's ready for picking)
Here are all the strawberries that were available for picking / eating on the day that Farg and Iki went to the farm.
※ The two varieties of strawberries in the bottom right corner are still in testing stages and haven’t been named yet.
Whether you pay close attention to what type of strawberries you’re eating or just go with that looks good, you can't go wrong! Just make sure you eat your fill-- a half hour goes faster than you think!
Address: 1354 Sakazukicho, Wakaba-ku, Chiba-shi, Chiba-ken （MAP）
Telephone: 043-235-3788 (Japanese only)
Open yearly January thru early-May
2017 Strawberry picking period: January 1 thru May 14, 2017
Check their Facebook or call for more details regarding closings
Reception on Weekdays 10:00am~
Reception on weekends and holidays 8:30am~
Strawberry picking 10:00am~
Closes when strawberries are gone.
* In the event that are is a large number of participants, the reception may close early.
Cost for a 30 minute all-you-can-eat strawberry picking session
Jan. 1 thru March 31
Adults: 2,000 yen
Children ages 4 and up: 1,500 yen
Children ages 2~3: 500 yen
April 1 ~ early-May
Adult: 1,700 yen
Children ages 4 and up: 1,200 yen
Children ages 2~3: 500 yen
Spoken foreign languages: English ※ English speaking staff may sometimes be unavailable
Dates and times updated as of January 2017. Changes to dates, times, and prices may occur. Please check Dragon Farm's website before visiting. Pictures and text used in this article are from 2016. Changes may have occurred. Also, there are 15 varieties of strawberries available for 2017.
How to get to Dragon Farm
Let's enjoy spring in Japan!
From sakura to strawberries, there’s lots to love about springtime in Japan! What’s your favorite part about spring? Let us know in the comments!
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THIS ARTICLE IS BASED ON INFORMATION FROM 03 29,2016
Author：DiGJAPAN! Editorial Team