April 12, 2017
EXPERIENCE

Spring means Strawberry Season in Tokyo

春は東京でいちご狩り

Nowadays, strawberries can be bought at the supermarket anytime of the year, even during the winter season. However, the real season for the strawberry is spring. Spring time is when you can indulge in strawberry picking, the event that allows you to pick ripe strawberries straight out of the source. If you love strawberries, take note: you can go strawberry picking in Tokyo. A 30 minute train ride and 10 minute bus ride, which adds up to around 500 yen from Shinjuku station will get you to the strawberry fields in the city of Tama.
最近は冬場でもスーパーで見かけるいちごだけれど、いちごの旬は春。春の行楽イベントと言えばいちご狩りだろう。普段なかなか食べられない完熟したいちごを食べられるとあって、いちご狩りはいちご好きには欠かせないイベントだ。実は、東京でもいちご狩りができることをご存知だろうか。新宿から電車で30分、バスに乗り継ぎ10分、交通費500円ちょっとで行けてしまういちご狩りが、多摩市にある。

Strawberries grown with the rich groundwater of Tama

The strawberry farm “Niikura Noen” in Ochikawa, Tama City opened in 2006. With the strong ambition to create “Japan’s most tasty strawberry”, the owner Mr. Takashi Niikura commuted to a strawberry farm in Tochigi Prefecture to study the craft of farming strawberries. To create a juicy, sweet strawberry, meticulous maintenance is key, from the amount of sunlight, temperature, humidity, and Carbon Dioxide concentration within the greenhouse. “The amount of human care is proportionate to the sweetness of the strawberry” claims Mr. Niikura proudly. The water used for cultivation is the fresh groundwater of Tama, which he pumps every morning.

多摩の豊かな地下水で育てたいちご

多摩市落川にある、いちご農園「新倉農園」は2006年にオープン。オーナーの新倉隆さんは、「日本一美味しいいちごを」との強い思いから、栃木のいちご農家へ通い栽培方法を熱心に学んだそうだ。ハウス内の日照時間、室温、湿度、二酸化炭素量を細かく調整し、より甘くみずみずしいいちごを育てるために毎日の手入れは欠かさない。「どれだけ人が手をかけるかが、美味しいいちごの決め手になるんです」と新倉さんは味に自信を見せる。栽培に使う水は、毎日井戸から汲み上げる多摩の新鮮な地下水だ。

niikura_contents_03

No condensed milk is necessary for these strawberries

The strains of strawberries in this farm include Aki-Hime, Beni-Hoppe, and Asuka Ruby. The Aki-Hime is a well balanced berry in sweet and tanginess. Beni-Hoppe is stronger in sweetness. Asuka Ruby is proportionately sour, for the more mature palate. In addition, they are also cultivating the trending “White Lady” breed that is said to have the aroma of a rose and flavor profile of a peach. At the moment they are only producing small batches so you would be lucky to try them.
At this farm, condensed milk, a popular topping upon strawberry picking in Japan, is not provided. This policy comes from Mr. Niikura’s wish for people to appreciate the flavor of the strawberries by themselves. Moreover, at his farm you pay for the total weight you’ve picked (300 yen/100 grams), rather than a timed all-you-can-eat service, so that the customers could savor every last berry to the fullest. If you have a decent budget and belly capacity, you can indulge according to your craving. On the other hand, if you just want to enjoy the experience, then this is the deal for you. Mr. Niikura sees a wide demographic at his farm, from customers that come alone, to High school couples that come to visit after school.

いちごそのものを味わってほしいから練乳はつけない

ハウスに並ぶいちごは、「あきひめ」「紅ほっぺ」「アスカルビー」。あきひめは、酸味と甘みのバランスがほどよいいちご。紅ほっぺは、甘さが強い。アスカルビーは、ちょっと酸味があって大人の味。さらに、香りはバラ、味は桃のようと最近話題の「ホワイトレディ」も栽培中。ただし、量は少なめなので食べられたらラッキーだ。
ちなみに、いちご狩りにつきものの「練乳」はここでは使わない。「いちごそのものの甘さをぜひ味わってもらいたい」という新倉さんの味へのこだわりだ。さらに、「1粒1粒を味わって食べてほしい」という思いから、新倉農園は時間制限の食べ放題ではなく、摘み取った分だけ料金を支払うシステム。100g300円だ。食べたい人はたくさん摘めばいいし、ちょっとだけ楽しみたい人は、それなりに楽しめばいい。要するに、自分のハラ具合やフトコロ具合にあわせていちご狩りを気軽に楽しめるということ。それもあってか、一人で訪ねるお客さんも少なくない。放課後にいちご狩りを楽しむ高校生カップルもいるようだ。

Reserve your visit on a weekday – Overseas inquiries are accepted too!

Alright, enough explainin’ – lets get strawberry pickin’! As you walk into the greenhouse with a pair of pruning scissors and a basket, you’ll be surrounded by the pleasant aroma of the strawberries. Go wild! Go hunting for the ripest, reddest, largest strawberry! Find that one photogenic berry to upload to your social media! Once you’re done picking, now its time to taste your strawberry. As you bite into it the sweet juices of the strawberry will instantly fill your mouth and… Well, the rest you’ll have to go for yourself to find out!

In the recent years, the farm has seen an increase in customers from other prefectures, as well as from overseas. The popularity of the Japanese strawberry is on the rise, and has seen some buzz on various social media as the “Perfect Strawberry”. The owner, Mr. Niikura will be available to attend you in English, as well as the english speaking staff on site. On weekends, the farm has seen more than 500 customers, so a weekday reservation is recommended.
Services start from end of February to end of May. We highly encourage you to fit in a day to go Strawberry picking in Tokyo during your stay.

平日の予約がおススメ 海外からの予約もOK

さて、説明はここまで。受付でいちごを入れるパックとはさみを受け取り、いざ!いちご狩りスタート。ハウスの中はいちごの甘い香りでいっぱい。食べる前から美味しくて幸せな気分になる。「へたの下まで真っ赤でつやつや、美味しそうな大きないちご」ひと粒ひと粒、吟味しながら探す。SNS用に写真映えしそうないちごを選ぶのもまた楽しい。いちご狩りを終え、さっそくパクリ。かじると甘い果汁がジュワワ~っと口の中に広がって…!ぜひ実際に自分の舌でこの美味しさを確認してほしい。

ここ数年、県外と共に、海外からのお客さんも増えているという。SNS上で「日本のいちごはカンペキ」「一度は食べてみたい!」と、日本のいちごの人気が高まっているのだそうだ。オーナーの新倉さんは英語での対応が可能。加えて英語が堪能なスタッフもいるというから心強い。土日には、500人以上が訪れることもあるという。平日の予約がおススメだ。
2月末から5月下旬までの期間限定。今年は、ぜひ東京で絶品いちごを味わってほしい。

SHOP INFO

Niikura Noen
Strawberry picking is open from end of February to end of May (RSVP)

Address: 1179 Ochikawa, Tama-shi, Tokyo
TEL:080-1173-1346 (9:30 ~ 14:00)

Open hours: Weekends 10:00 16:00, Monday Wednesday Thursday 13:00 ~ 16:00
Closed on : Tuesday, Friday (Open hours and closed days are subject to change)
URL: www.niikuranoen.com

新倉農園
いちご農園は2月末~5月下旬オープン予定(要予約)

住所:東京都多摩市落川 1179
TEL:080‐1173‐1346(9:30 ~ 14:00)

営業時間:土日10:00 ~ 16:00 月水木 13:00~16:00
定休日 : 火曜・金曜(営業時間や休園日は変更することがあります)
URL: www.niikuranoen.com

writer /
photographer / MIREI SAKAKI

観光案内をご希望の方は、こちらまでご連絡ください
If you would like to tourist information , please contact us

×