Although Japan boasts some of the biggest cities in the world, for many people the true charm of this nation lies in its rural roots. Rural Japan is breathtakingly beautiful, offering travellers an opportunity to get closer to nature and the history of Japan. Whether you’re travelling by car, station wagon or motor home, the rural roads of Japan are both strikingly beautiful and historically rich. To get the most out of your time here, farm stays and agricultural experiences – such as cherry picking or rice planting – will bring you even closer to the natural beauty and rich history of Japan.

Rural Japan: Farm Stays and Agricultural Experiences

Rural Japan differs significantly from its metropolitan cities, offering a unique blend of tranquillity, scenic beauty, and hands-on agricultural activities that you won’t find in populated cities. The more rural side of Japan attracts travellers seeking a deeper connection with nature and traditional Japanese culture. For those adventurous enough to explore the countryside by RV or estate car rental, Japan offers a variety of farm stays and agricultural experiences, ranging from fruit picking to participating in the annual rice planting. In this article, we’ll discuss what to expect during your time in rural Japan and how farm stays and agricultural experiences are well worth looking into.

Discovering the Charm of Farm Stays

Farm stays are an integral part of the rural Japanese tourism experience. These accommodations provide a firsthand look at rural life and traditional farming practices, providing you with a unique glimpse into the past. Visitors can stay with local families, enjoy home-cooked meals, and participate in daily farm operations to get a real feel for life in rural Japan. This immersive experience not only offers insight into the agricultural lifestyle but also fosters a deeper appreciation for the food and culture of Japan.

Types of Farm Stays

There are a few different types of farm stays that you might want to consider during your travels throughout rural Japan. Regardless the size of your vehicle, Japan boasts some spectacular roads that wind through the more sedate areas of Japan and into farming communities. These farm stays include:

  • Traditional Farmhouses: Stay in beautifully preserved farmhouses that offer a glimpse into the past with tatami mats, futons, and wood-burning stoves.
  • Modern Agritourism Resorts: For those who prefer a bit more comfort, these resorts combine modern amenities with farm-based activities.

Fruit Picking Adventures

Fruit picking is a popular activity that allows visitors to enjoy fresh fruits directly from the tree or vine. Japan’s diverse climate supports a wide range of fruits throughout the year, ensuring that almost any season is ideal for this activity.

Japanese Cherry (Sakuranbo) Picking

The Yamagata Prefecture is renowned for its cherries, and participating in a cherry-picking tour here is a delightful experience. Typically held from late June to early July, visitors can wander through orchards, pick cherries, and even take part in cherry-based cooking classes.

Other Fruit Picking Opportunities

Although the Japanese cherry-picking is the most popular fruit-picking adventure, there are other opportunities to consider, too. These include:

  • Apple Picking in Aomori: Aomori is famous for its apples, and orchards here allow visitors to pick apples from late August through November.
  • Citrus Harvesting in Shizuoka: Just 1.5 hour drive from Tokyo, you can enjoy harvesting various types of citrus from late autumn to winter in Japan’s citrus belt.

The Rice Planting Experience

Rice is at the heart of Japanese agriculture, and participating in a rice planting experience provides an authentic look into the cultural significance of this crop. These events are typically held in late spring, where participants wade into flooded fields to plant rice by hand. It’s a labour-intensive process but offers a unique and memorable insight into one of Japan’s most important agricultural activities. Whether travelling by car, RV or motorhome, Japan’s rice planting experiences are accessible to all. You can find the best opportunities in:

  • Niigata Prefecture: Known for producing some of the best rice in Japan, Niigata offers organised rice planting experiences that are perfect for visitors.
  • Akita Prefecture: Here, visitors can also learn about traditional rice cultivation techniques and the history of rice farming in Japan.

Navigating Rural Japan by RV or Station Wagon

If you’ve used an RV or station wagon hire, Japan and its rural landscapes are incredibly accessible and offer flexibility and a closer connection to nature. Many farm stay locations and agricultural sites are accessible by RV, providing a convenient and comfortable way to travel between experiences.

Agritourism Beyond Farming

Agritourism in Japan isn’t limited to fruit picking and rice planting. Visitors can also engage in other farm-related activities such as:

  • Silk Farming: Learn about the fascinating process of silk production at farms in the Gunma Prefecture.
  • Tea Picking and Processing: Participate in tea picking and learn about the tea-making process in regions like Shizuoka and Kagoshima.
  • Wasabi Cultivation: Discover the intricate cultivation process of wasabi in Shizuoka, where the natural springs provide ideal growing conditions.

Get Closer to Nature With a Road Trip to Rural Japan

Rural Japan offers an enriching blend of experiences that combine relaxation, education, and participation in traditional agricultural practices. Whether you are navigating the countryside in an RV, staying at a farm, or engaging in hands-on activities like cherry picking and rice planting, the rural landscapes of Japan provide a memorable backdrop to learn and explore. As you plan your next getaway, consider the vast and vibrant rural areas of Japan for an authentic and enriching experience.

 

About the Author

Mayumi

I love nature and travel. I have lived and traveled in some countries and seen many cultures. I would love to share stories of Japan so that visitors can learn more about this wonderful and unique culture and have an unforgettable and enjoyable trip.

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