Where Japanese Food Comes From: 12 Farm Tours & Farm Stays Around Japan

By The byFood Team
Updated: May 8, 2024

Have you ever wondered where delicious Japanese food comes from? Embark on a culinary adventure and explore the origins of Japanese food through farm tours and farm stays around Japan. Get ready to immerse yourself in the rich agricultural traditions of this vibrant country and discover the stories behind your favorite dishes.

In this blog post, we'll briefly introduce 12 farm tours and farm stays around Japan:

  1. Wasabi farm tour and tasting in Okutama (Tokyo)
  2. Tea farm and factory visit in Shizuoka
  3. Tea farm tour and cafe hopping in Shizuoka
  4. Tea farm tour and tea tasting in Wazuka (Kyoto)
  5. Mikan farm tour and fruit picking experience in Ehime
  6. Farm tour and cooking class near Lake Toya (Hokkaido)
  7. Tea farm tour and tea picking experience in Shizuoka
  8. Shiitake mushroom picking experience in Yokohama
  9. Farm stay with regional food in Odate (Akita)
  10.  Fruit orchard tour and outdoor dining in Nagano
  11. Farm stay and tea experience in Shizuoka
  12. Farm stay and experience in Yamagata

Whether you're looking for a soft introduction to life in rural Japan or ready to learn everything about growing and preparing your own produce, you're sure to fancy one of these experiences. 

1. Wasabi farm tour and tasting in Okutama (Tokyo)


You might be shocked to know that real wasabi is expensive and difficult to grow. In most restaurants abroad, the green paste served alongside sushi is actually dyed horseradish. For true spice, it's best to visit a reputed sushi restaurant in Japan or a wasabi farm, where you can often try authentic wasabi fresh from the field. 

This Okutama tour is hosted by David Hulme, a former journalist from Australia who decided to move to Okutama in 2014 after chasing a story about a wasabi patch he stumbled upon deep in the woods. David made friends with the local farmers and is now an official guide for the area. He will take you to his wasabi patch, which was once abandoned but is now thriving under his care. 

During your visit, you'll see how David grows wasabi and try a few farmer's tasks yourself before trying freshly grated wasabi alongside roast beef. 

Good to know: Guests who do not eat meat are free to bring their own snacks. Note that this experience doesn't include a full meal.

Book this wasabi farm tour on byFood.

2. Tea farm and factory visit in Shizuoka

Shizuoka Prefecture is Japan's top tea producer, and if you're going to visit a tea farm, you should go where the prolific farmers are. This particular tea farm tour takes you to the mountains of Shizuoka, where you'll pick tea leaves right off the plant. You'll also taste and compare several varieties of Japanese tea. 

After spending some time on the farm, guests visit a local tea processing factory to learn how tea is prepared, packed, and shipped throughout Japan. 

Plan ahead! As tea farming is seasonal, the tea factory is only fully operational some days of the year. Guests will join an educational session on days when the factory is not operating.

Book this Shizuoka tea farm tour on byFood.

3. Tea farm tour and cafe hopping in Shizuoka


This tour features the same tea farm tour and tea-picking experience we mentioned above, but it also includes a tour of several cafes and tea shops in the area. During the cafe hopping portion of the experience, guests will learn about traditional and modern ways to prepare and enjoy tea directly from tea experts, farmers, and fellow producers. 

Book this Shizuoka tea tour on byFood.

4. Tea farm tour and tea tasting in Wazuka (Kyoto)

After Shizuoka, Kyoto is another important prefecture responsible for much of Japan's green tea production. Wazuka, a tea town with a population of about 3,600 people, produces nearly half of the tea made in Kyoto Prefecture

During this guided tea farm tour, you can visit the beautiful tea fields that have been recognized as a Scenic Property of Kyoto Prefecture and learn about Japanese tea-growing techniques, tea processing methods, and traditional tea culture. This tea tour includes several tastings, so guests can try a total of 9 different types of locally grown Japanese teas and discover their new favorite beverage. 

Yes, lunch is included. After the tour, you'll feast on a healthy lunch featuring soba (buckwheat noodles) and seasonal veggies. 

Book this Kyoto tea farm tour on byFood.

5. Mikan farm tour and fruit picking experience in Ehime

Mikan are a sweet and sour citrus synonymous with winter in Japan. Ehime is one of the most important producers of mikan in the country, and you can experience mikan-picking firsthand on this farm tour!

Enjoy the fragrant air of citrus fruit while harvesting mikan in one of the female-lead mikan farms in Yawatahama. There are farms all across the town, and each one is locally owned and operated. The farmer will instruct you on how to pick the mikan correctly and how to tell which ones are ripe and sweet. 

Spending time outside, exploring the mikan farm in the fresh mountain air, will leave you feeling invigorated and hungry for the sweet citrus fruit. 

Book this mikan farm tour on byFood.

6. Farm tour and cooking class near Lake Toya (Hokkaido)

Hokkaido Farm Tour

It's easy to see why Hokkaido has ranked Japan's most attractive prefecture for 15 consecutive years. The northernmost island is a premier destination for outdoor sports and gourmet cuisine, and its vast lands and abundant natural resources offer year-round attractions through the dramatic passing of the seasons. 

Eager to share a taste of Hokkaido's incredible natural bounty, Ian and Noriko designed this unique experience combining cooking, communing with nature, and feasting on delicious Hokkaido dishes in their farm cooking studio. Before the cooking class, guests tour the farm grounds while Ian and Noriko share stories about the area. 

Authentic Japanese home cooking is guaranteed! This experience showcases to a tee the warm hospitality Japan is known for. That you get to deepen your knowledge of Hokkaido and its agricultural landscape is a welcomed bonus. 

Book this Hokkaido farm tour on byFood.

7. Tea farm tour and tea picking experience in Shizuoka

Tea Farm Tour in Shizuoka

This alternative Shizuoka tea farm tour is for those who like to go fast and take in as many sights as possible. Hop on your trusty rental bicycle and breeze through Shizuoka's downtown district, along the scenic Abe River, and into the lush green fields of the prefecture's countryside. 

Among the fields is a green tea farm where you'll walk through the grounds, learn about the farm's 150-year history, and visit a traditional building to sample some aromatic green tea.

Pro tip: This tour is one of the most accessible tours in Shizuka. Take either the Tokaido Main Line or Tokaido Shinkansen from central Tokyo for a smooth ride to and from the city. 

Book this Shizuoka tea experience on byFood.

8. Shiitake mushroom picking experience in Yokohama


For 500 years, this Yokohama mushroom farm has been adapting its business to suit the times. As needs change, the farm experiments with new ways to bring life to the farming industry. 

Lively barbeques, a natural cave, and gardens of rare plants where you can pick your own produce are just a few of the specialties at this farm. Enjoy hand-selecting and harvesting shiitake mushrooms in a carefully planned greenhouse while farmers explain the tricks of their trade. These shiitake are the pride of the farm: deeply savory mushrooms with a scent so delicious it's even been known to convert mushroom haters. 

Then, roast your shiitake and pair it with a few sips of Japan's famous green tea, courtesy of the farm's close regional ties. An eco-paradise, the mushroom-picking experience shows off the future of agriculture through unique, hands-on activities and delicious food. 

Book this farm experience on byFood.

9. Farm stay with regional food in Odate (Akita)

Enjoy the warm hospitality of Ishigaki-san, a local farmer's mother who is very active in the community. In addition to tending to her own apple orchard and starting a local shop where farmers come to sell their produce, she runs a local farm inn where guests can take part in hands-on rural activities, like light farm work and cooking classes with local ingredients. 

Under Ishigaki-san's tutelage, guests will learn traditional Japanese cooking methods, starting with how to make tampo, a pounded rice dish wrapped around a skewer and toasted around a fire. Tampo forms the base of two delicious Akita dishes that guests will make.

After the warming hot pot feast, take a chance to view and appreciate the artwork and architecture of the farm inn, including the traditional Japanese tea room. Then, wind down for the evening with a dip in the rejuvenating local onsen hot spring and enjoy a cozy night in. In the morning, enjoy a hearty breakfast spread that features the best local ingredients, such as Hinai Jidori chicken eggs and Akita apples. 

Ideal for slow travelers. This experience is best suited to those who want to immerse themselves in a farmer's daily life in Japan. There are no frills here — just a love for good food, good times, and good company. 

Book this Akita farm stay on byFood.

10. Fruit orchard tour and outdoor dining in Nagano

Orchard Tour Nagano

Matsukawa, a small village in the center of Nagano Prefecture, is a popular fruit-picking destination with over 100 years of fruit farming traditions. This experience takes guests outside to see how much work and thought goes into growing some of Japan's premium fruits. After learning about the ins and outs of fruit farming, guests are treated to a six-meal lunch in the heart of the orchard. 

See what's in season! The orchard guests will visit will depend on the season and availability. Between June and November, many fruits will be ready to harvest, including (but not limited to) cherries, peaches, and apples. 

Book this Nagano food experience on byFood.

11. Farm stay and tea experience in Shizuoka

Farm Stay Shizuoka

Trade the bustle of Tokyo for the terraced green tea farms of Shizuoka, Japan's tea capital. Taste rural life as you tour a tea farm, pick tea leaves with local farmers, roast the leaves on an iron kettle (a traditional method known as kama-yaki) to prepare tea, prepare a regional specialty with local ingredients, relax overnight in a rural inn, and, of course, sip on lots of fresh tea!

No two days are the same in the fields nor in this experience. Guests should anticipate the content of their experience to vary slightly according to the season and tea-production calendar. But hey, that's half the fun! 

Book this tea farm stay on byFood.

12. Farm stay and experience in Yamagata

Farm Stay Yamagata

Experience the warmth and hospitality of farmers in Yamagata prefecture by staying overnight at a charming traditional farmhouse. The next day, you will participate in a harvesting experience followed by a cooking class. 

After meeting the Onodera family and touring their home — a cozy, traditional farmhouse built 100 years ago in the middle of a vast expanse of rice fields — you'll settle into your rooms and have some free time to explore the village before dinner. 

Since the harvest starts very early in the morning, guests are advised to go to bed and get some rest after dinner. The next day, a local guide will join the group of guests and farmers. Learn about how the farmers in Tsuruoka harvest their crops and get their hands dirty when you join in on the action!

Best suited for those who want to get down in the dirt. This farm stay is about as genuine as it gets!

Book this Yamagata farm stay on byFood.

FAQ on tea farm tours in Japan

What is a tea farm tour in Japan?

A tea farm tour in Japan is a unique experience that allows you to visit a tea plantation, learn about the tea cultivation process, and taste freshly brewed Japanese tea.

How long does a tea farm tour typically last?

Most tea farm tours in Japan last between 1 and 3 hours, depending on the specific tour package and activities included.

What can I expect to see on a tea farm tour in Japan?

During a tea farm tour in Japan, you can see lush green tea fields and traditional tea processing facilities and maybe even meet the farmers who grow and harvest the tea leaves. Many tours will also include a tea-picking experience!


Are there any tasting sessions included in the tea farm tour?

Yes, most tea farm tours in Japan include tasting sessions where you can sample different types of Japanese tea, such as sencha, matcha, and hojicha.

How should I dress for a tea farm tour in Japan?

We recommend wearing comfortable clothing and shoes suitable for walking on uneven terrain, as tea plantations can be hilly and muddy in some areas.

Can I purchase tea products during the tour?

Many tea farm tours in Japan have on-site shops where you can purchase freshly harvested tea leaves, tea accessories, and other souvenirs to take home.

Can't make it to Japan yet? You can purchase Japanese tea and other produce from independent producers through byFood's Gourmet Market.

We strive to be as accurate as possible and keep up with the changing landscape of Japan's food and travel industries. If you spot any inaccuracies, please send a report.
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The byFood Team
Sharing our love of Japanese cuisine and culture, with the mission of spreading happiness through food.
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