When traveling to Japan, most people decide to book a hotel or traditional Japanese ryokan for their accommodation. However, have you ever thought about staying in a more homely place with some of the local farmers? If you are at all interested in Japanese agriculture, the slow paced rural Japanese lifestyle, and interacting with local people, you should definitely consider agritourism in Japan. We hope this article helps you get a better idea of agritourism in Japan and that you can experience it first hand on your next visit! Table of contents
In 2021, Iida city of Nagano Prefecture agreed to a partnership with Airbnb Japan in order to help promote the growth of sustainable tourism. The city is working on revitalizing the local economy through farm stay tourism and the reuse of uninhabited houses. In the city of Iida there are over 100 farmers, and they offer travelers a variety of agricultural experiences such as rice planting and harvesting, apple picking, tea picking, and making dried persimmons(depending on the season you visit). Moreover, you will have the chance to learn how to make gohei mochi, a local specialty that is a rice cake with miso sauce.
Maoi Jiyu-no-Oka Winery (Hokkaido)
In Naganuma city of Hokkaido not far from Sapporo, there is a famous lodge with a winery that is known for its small-scale high quality production. The wine is mainly made from wild grapes, such as Yama Budo, Yama Sauvignon, Yama Fredonia, Himalaya, and Niagara, which are all original varieties of the house. You can observe the wine production process at the winery and of course taste some of it for yourself as well. You can rent out the whole lodge if you are hoping for a relaxing and private stay. From the lodge, there is a beautiful view of the Ishikari plains. If the weather is good, you can also enjoy a nice BBQ outside.
Waayama is the fourth-largest peach harvesting prefecture in Japan. There is a farm called Wakaba farm in Momoyama town, named after momo, which means peach in Japanese. The farm is run by a young couple that has welcomed tourists for years. On the farm, you can try your hand at farm work, tend to the peach trees and even pick a few peaches over the summer when they are in season. After the peach season, you can also pick mandarin oranges there. You will even have the option to stay at the farm with the couple and their children!
Mirai Noen (Wakayama)
Mirai Noen is another great agritourism stay in Wakayama. This part of Japan is famous for not only peaches but also mandarin oranges and Japanese apricots, of which it has the largest harvest in Japan. Tourists visiting the area have the opportunity to pick the local fruit. The farm has over 100 years of history of harvesting mandarin oranges and Japanese apricots. The farmers also like fishing, so if you stay with the family, they will happily take you fishing where you will be able to see the beautiful sunset. The farm often welcomes tourists from various different countries, and they are very warm and friendly when it comes to any international guests.
If you are interested in staying with local people right by a beautiful lake, we highly recommend Kamado! From the guest house, you can see Lake Tazawa, the deepest lake in Japan with stunning emerald green water. At the guest house, there are two main seasonal activities: agriculture and cooking. As for the agriculture activities, the guest house offers vegetable harvesting and planting in the spring and fall, fishing in Lake Tazawa in the summer and fall, and snowmobiling in winter. When it comes to cooking activities, guests have the opportunity to make pizza, Nagashi-noodles, and desserts. The owner states with confidence that their guest house is the most comfortable and relaxing stay among all the accommodations near Lake Tazawa!
Matoba is a cozy little traditional guesthouse in Nihonmatsu city of Fukushima Prefecture. Nihonmatsu city was famous for silk farming long ago. Even though the production of silk has fallen into a decline, the guest house still maintains the tradition and allows tourists to partake in silk related activities such as mulberry pruning. One of the selling points of the guest house is their delicious dinner. They will serve you a local dinner with various kinds of vegetables right in front of the warm fireplace. If you want to stay in an old-style Japanese house in the winter, this may be a great option for you.
Nakamura Ranch (Kagoshima)
Agritourism is not only limited to agriculture but also extends to cattle breeding. At Nakamura Ranch in Kagoshima Prefecture, the highest beef producing prefecture in Japan, you can try many cattle related activities such as petting, taking care of and feeding the cattle, as well as a ranch tour. There are over 60 cattle on their vast ranch. You can stay at a nice guest house that is owned by the rancher. The open beautiful scenery of the ranch will help you refresh and allow you to experience Japanese life on a ranch.
Okinawan culture is unique compared to most other prefectures when it comes to things like architecture, food and agriculture. In terms of architecture in Okinawa, the houses there have low ceilings and brick walls. As for the food and agriculture, since the climate is warmer than in other parts of Japan, there are loads of unique foods. In one of the island’s guest houses, Akagawara, you can learn how to grow things like shekwasha(an Okinawan citrus fruit), turmeric, herb and hibiscus with local farmers. Moreover, you can get a relaxing herbal massage, which is sure to help relieve stress!
All of the destinations we talked about in this article may not have the best access from the bigger and more urban areas of Japan, however, it is always great to experience and enjoy the slower paced Japanese traditional life in the countryside. We hope you found a spot or two from our list of the 10 best agritourism stays in Japan that you are interested in visiting next time you are here!