Translated by Sandy Lau
Fukuoka’s Specialty! Strawberry Picking At Chikushino Strawberry Farm
Written by Osawa Kumi
All-you-can-eat strawberry picking is quickly rising in popularity among visitors to Japan! Let’s eat Japanese strawberries at Chikushino Strawberry Farm until we’re satisfied! We will also go into the varieties and characteristics of each type.
Fukuoka, located in Kyushu, is one of Japan’s leading areas for strawberry production. There are several farms where you can experience ichigo-gari (*1) in the prefecture and it is also a popular sightseeing area from winter until the beginning of spring. Refer to this article for details on how to travel to Fukuoka from Tokyo.
We will be introducing Strawberry Fields Chikushino Strawberry Farm, a farm that is popular among visitors from abroad and is even well-known within the strawberry farms in Fukuoka. Tourists from abroad made up 30% of visitors in December and 15% in January. By the way, in order to enjoy a strawberry picking experience at this farm you'll need to make a reservation beforehand. If your travel schedule has been decided, then the first thing to do is to reserve a date and time at the farm through either phone or email.
*1 Ichigo-gari: An all-you-can-eat service where you can pick whatever strawberries you want in the designated farmland within a certain time limit.
How to Access Chikushino Strawberry Farm
The nearest station to the farm is JR Haruda Station. It takes 35 minutes from JR Hakata Station on the Kagoshima Main Line. From the station, it will take approximately five minutes to arrive at the farm by taxi (taxi fare is 700-800 yen).
A semi-natural landscape nearby a populated area stretches across the surroundings of the farm.
Arriving at the Farm
You will know you have arrived when you see a nobori (a flag-like cloth banner) with pictures of strawberries on it. Chikushino Strawberry Farm is a large-scaled farm that owns about 30 plastic greenhouses.
First, let’s check in at the reception in this building. It is 1900 yen (1500 yen from May 10th-29th) for adults for a one hour all-you-can-eat course. If you will be picking strawberries to bring home, it is necessary to pay an entrance fee of 300 yen in addition to the amount that will be calculated in accordance with the quantity you will be bringing home.
You will receive scissors and a plastic bag to place the fruit tops in if choosing the all-you-can-eat course. If you will be bringing your strawberries home, you will receive scissors and a box before heading towards your designated plastic greenhouse. Please note that credit cards are not accepted.
The farm is generally open from the beginning of November to the end of May and may end up opening or closing a little before or after these dates depending on the year. For 2017-2018, the farms will be open from the middle of November until the end of May.
Let’s Go Strawberry Picking!
Elevated cultivating is a method in which fruit is cultivated at a high location so that it is sanitarily grown. This method was created so that trimming or picking strawberries will not be hard on the lower back or legs.
There are many strawberry varieties characterized by their own individual flavors and fragrances in Japan. Now we will introduce the strawberry varieties that can be eaten at Chikushino Strawberry Farm.
The Kaorino strawberry is characterized by its sweet and sour fragrance. Not only is it fragrant, but it is said to be a delicious and easy to grow variety.
These Sagahonoka strawberries are somewhat small, but are a variety that is characterized by its refreshing sweetness.
The Amao strawberry, also known as the king of strawberries. Annually, approximately 80 tons of Amao strawberries produced in Fukuoka are exported to central Hong Kong (according to the 2013 Fukuoka fiscal report). As the yield of the sweet and large Amao strawberry is small, the chances of coming across this variety are rare even on this farm.
This farm has a total of 10 varieties, which also makes it fun to try and compare each variety’s flavors.
Vital to Growing Strawberries – Honeybees
Honeybees are important to strawberries and are vital for the pollination of the fruit.
There are two beehives at the farm, so you will come across honeybees flying around here and there.
The Staff’s Love for Strawberries
It is essential to wear gloves and other protective clothing as strawberry leaves carry a lot of lye. The greenhouses have comfortable temperatures of 25-30℃ during the winter but they become close to 50℃ in the summer. The staff are very friendly, so please feel free to ask questions if there’s anything you’d like to ask them.
There are also employees who raise strawberries as if they were their children. “I study daily so that we can grow strawberries that can be safely eaten by anyone.” These words tell us the reason why these strawberries are so safe and delicious to eat.
Choosing Souvenirs After Strawberry Picking
Let’s return to the reception building after finishing the one hour all-you-can-eat course. What do you think of the farm’s specialty strawberry jam (500 yen plus tax) as a souvenir? The farm offers Agency for Agricultural Quarantine as well as airport delivery services so that it is possible for visitors to bring home strawberries from the farm to their home country. The fruits are also packed in a way so that they will remain safe and undamaged.
However, there may be cases where you are unable to bring home fruits regardless of quarantine depending on the country and type of fruit. Please ask for more details at the farm. Please also use this list as a reference.
A Message From the Owner, Mr. Ishibashi
Mr. Ishibashi, the owner of Chikushino Strawberry Farm who has an overflowing passion for strawberry cultivation and customer hospitality, said in a message to visitors, “Please rest assured and try our safe, delicious strawberries in a comfortable environment.”
Don’t just eat the delicious fruit of Japan; please enjoy a fruit picking experience on your trip, too!
Strawberry Fields Chikushino Strawberry Farm
Address: Fukuoka, Chikushino, Chikushi 1278
Hours: 9:00 – 17:00
Closed: Mondays (If Monday is a national holiday, then the farm will also be closed the following Tuesday)
Credit Cards: N/A
Other Languages: English-speaking staff are available but are not always in
Other Menu Languages: Texts available in English and Chinese
Nearest Station: JR Kagoshima Main Line, Harada Station
Access: 5 minutes by taxi from Harada Station on the JR Kagoshima Main Line
Price Range: 300 – 1900 yen
Phone: 092-400-3239 (landline), 090-4516-1484 (cellphone)
Website: Strawberry Fields Chikushino Strawberry Farm (Japanese)