Hokkaido Fruit Picking
Hokkaido has almost a quarter of Japan's arable land, and is often seen as the country's food basket. As a result, a huge volume of fruits and vegetables are farmed in Hokkaido — a region renowned for the amazing abundance and incredible flavour of its produce.
Thanks to its wide-spreading farmland and ever-increasing popularity both with locals and domestic and international travelers, it's easy to find road-side stalls selling outstanding fresh fruit and vegetables, and the quality of both market and supermarket sold produce is held at an extremely high standard.
Despite having convenient access to such high-quality produce, it is still difficult to beat the crisp and juicy flavour of freshly picked fruit in the midday sun — and fruit picking remains one of the most popular summer past-times in the region.
Hokkaido has a huge number of fruit fields, farms, and orchards where visitors can pay to pick and enjoy their own fresh fruit. Unlike many fruit picking fields found in other countries, the Japanese tradition leans more towards an all-you-can-eat buffet of fresh fruit — picking tasty treats directly from the vine, stem, or tree, and eating them on the spot.
Yoichi and Niki are only around an hour's drive from Niseko, and have fields dedicated to a wide variety of fruit including plums, strawberries, peaches, blueberries, grapes, and much more. Despite the hugely varied offerings available throughout the year, the standout favourites are always the exceptional cherries and apples.
We were lucky enough to visit Niki's Cherry Mountain in the peak of the cherry season — which usually takes place between the months of June and August — and are very much looking forward to the upcoming Apple season, due to arrive towards the end of the month.
For around a thousand yen per person, you can enjoy hours of fruit picking — sampling some of the finest and freshest produce Hokkaido has to offer, while basking in the warm sun and cool breeze.
For those who fill up while picking, but still want to taste more of the region's tasty fruit, there are also options to take home punnets of uneaten fruit for use in pies, jams, and freshly-squeezed juices; or to buy delicious fruit desserts, dishes, and conserves directly from the orchard and fruit field farmers themselves.