Saturday, March 10, 2018

Fruit Picking (Blueberries and Cherries) in Takashina Fruit Farm @ Sobetsu Fruit Village near Lake Toya [Hokkaido, Japan]

The most memorable stuff that i did at Hokkaido was a visit to an orchard at Sobetsu Fruit Village near Lake Toya where we picked fresh Japanese produce like blueberries and cherries!

To be honest, the fruit village didn't feature prominently in tourism sites and i just happened to chance upon it while doing some last minute research on my first Japan trip.

Problem we faced was that there were quite a number of orchards and we didn't know which one to choose! Eventually, it's a matter of "i think this one can make it" and we just drove in to the carpark of Takashina Fruit Farm.

Nine different types of fruit were planted in the farm and the kind you would be able to pick on the day of your visit depends heavily on the month you drop by. In our case, it's blueberry and cherry!

Points to note after paying the entrance fees of 880 yen per adult (worked out to be about S$11): you can eat as much as you want for the fruits allowed for picking but for takeaways, extra charges would be applicable.

Entrance to the plantations - as you can see, it's bloody sunny on the day we visited and although humidity wasn't as big of an issue compared to Singapore, the heat was a tad unbearable.

Take an umbrella to shade yourself! Do remember to return it after use.

Before starting the fruit picking, pay the washroom a visit first! The farm wasn't that big but it can still be quite a hassle to return back to the entrance should the high tide hit.

Our first stop: blueberry with a clear sign stating we can pick there!

Low lying bushes of blueberries; this is the first time i am seeing blueberries in their original state, still stuck to the branches! In Singapore, i only see them in plastic packs.

First instinct - plucked whatever i could, using one hand, and threw them into my mouth; the constant bursts of fruity goodness were so enjoyable!

I don't think i need to provide advice on how to pick the correct blueberry? Oh well, just choose the ones that's darker! The pale looking ones are likely to be unripe, i guess.

A perfect cluster that's literally calling to me.

Blueberry is Alex's favourite fruit but it can be extremely expensive in Singapore; hence, our little boy went absolutely crazy over the 'free-flow' amount of blueberries that he can ingest!

We actually didn't wash the blueberries before eating them; i guess the assumption of Japanese fruits being expensive and of top quality did have an impact as i don't think we would have done the same thing in other countries.

We did note a thin layer of powdery stuff on the blueberries but to wipe off for each and every blueberry was just a blatant waste of time; which we didn't have the luxury of in the first place!

Apple trees on the side!

p.s. the above was only action by Alex as we were aware that apples were still not in season yet. However, given the limit of our tummy space, how many apples can we actually eat in one go?!

After stuffing ourselves with blueberries, we walked out, satisfied, to our next plantation where we can partake in expensive cherries! I can so imagine the antioxidant and bioflavonoids jump in my body that day.

Strolled past the vineyard with hanging bunches of green and red grapes! Like the apples, i doubt i can squeeze in one whole bunch of grapes in one sitting and for the price we paid for admission, it didn't quite justify.

Alex's action for the purpose of this blog post!

View of Mt Usu and Mt Showa Shinzan (the shorter one which was created during World War 2 after an earthquake) from the fruit farm; i would be covering both mountains in a separate posting; do look out for it!

I don't need to understand the Japanese words; the flag banner had a clear indication (the cartoon picture) that we had arrived at the cherry section.

Frankly, i didn't know how cherries were grown even though i should have recalled that the first president of USA had a longstanding legend of him chopping down a cherry tree!

But the cherries were so high up and i am not known to have attained the average height of a Singaporean man. How how how?!

Oh, i can make use of the ladders!

Luck was on our side as we found one not too far away that also happened to be placed under a tree with a lot of cherries! Time to fill up whatever space that's left in the stomach!

Pictures for your viewing pleasure; i did notice that the cherries here were orange looking instead of bright red although taste wise, they all tasted sweet. The redder ones were obviously sweeter!

I was stuffed yet i couldn't help picking the cherries off from the branches and popping them into my mouth. Towards the end, i am like Flash the Sloth in Zootopia; slowly plucking the cherries and chewing them at a unhurried pace.

All because i paid 880 yen and needed to get my money worth! I believe my parents would behave exactly like me if they were with me! By the way, the above shows the cherry seeds spat on the floor; we didn't think of spitting them into a plastic bag as technically, we can't bring plastic bags into the farm unless we have the intention for takeaways which would be separately charged.

Wooden benches for those who need to give their tummies a rest!

Anyone has any inkling what the above is for? From far, i thought they were man-made beehives for collection of honey although on a closer look, they were bunches of hollow 'sticks'.

A word of advice for those with children - there are quite a number of sections for cherries picking at Takashina Fruit Farm and the deeper you go, the higher the possibility of finding cherries on the lower branches. 

Sometimes, you can also find plastic crates where the young ones can stand on to pick the cherries themselves. Crates would not be recommended for the adults though, given our potentially heavier weight.

Back at the store for the Takashina Fruit Farm where we paid for our admission, i checked out the prices of the cherries and blueberries which cost 600 yen and 500 yen per pack, respectively. I can confidently say that i had at least three-pack worth of blueberries and about 60-80 cherries; guess i got a darn good deal for the 880 yen i forked out for fruit picking!


362 Takinoucho, Sobetsu-cho,
Usu-gun, Hokkaido, Japan


As above.


Pricing for Fruit Picking
Adult (Secondary School and above) - 880 yen
Primary School Kid - 680 yen
Above Three Years Old - 480 yen


  1. Anonymous2:34 AM

    The hollow sticks are for a special type of orchard bee, they are solitary and each stick is one’s home. They are used because they pollinate more efficiently in the cool early spring, when the cherries bloom

    1. thanks much for sharing this insightful information!