Japanese persimmon is a fruit that is abundantly grown throughout Japan and offers the landscape that beautiful pop of orange color during the late fall and early winter season.
Depending on when the fruit is picked it offers a variety of textures and flavors when eating. The taste is subtle and sweet and offers a unique fruit picking experience as most persimmon grown in the world are from China, Korea or Japan.
A popular custom after picking the fruit is to tie them into a long strand and to let them hang outside to dry. Traveling around rural Japan you will often see the persimmon hanging from the rafters of farm houses or barns, it’s a sight that never gets old. This process transforms the fruit into this dried, deep reddish color where it tastes like sweet sticky honey. It is usually eaten during New Years and is a perfect accompaniment to the cuisine of this season.
During this fruit picking festival you can spend the day with locals who love the idea of picking fruit in a scenic orchard, eating it fresh from the tree and spending time in a rural area. This fruit picking festival is held just once a year and celebrates the season, the fruit, the history and the farming heritage which makes this a perfect opportunity for a visitor to get a taste of a local-style festival.
The orchard is located near Sunagawa Park which has plenty of areas for walking, pretty streams and rivers running throughout the park and offer quiet places to eat a packed lunch. This park is also below Kinojo Castle which is castle famous in the ‘Legend of Momotaro’ of ‘Peach Boy’ story.
About the Area
Soja is an inland city in southwestern Okayama Prefecture. It is borders the cities of Okayama, Kurashiki, Takahashi and Ibara and the towns of Kibichuo and Yakage. This unique geographic position has meant that the city has always been deeply intertwined in regional cultural and political affairs.
With a name that literally means “all shrines”, it would be easy to assume that the city contains a lot of them and you would be correct. However, in many ways, Soja is very much a temple town, in that there are two major ones near the city center.
One of the most interesting parts of the city is the old shopping street that runs parallel to Route 180. There, you will find clues to life in the Meiji era in the stories told through its homes and storefronts.
Access: Take the Momotaro Line or Hakubi Line from Okayama Station to Soja Station. Exit at the front of the station and take a taxi for about a 15 minute ride.
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