苺 or イチゴ ichigo: strawberry
狩り kari: literal translation is “hunting,” but it used for picking fruit
Strawberry picking is really popular in Japan.
Today we went to Chura Ichigo 美らイチゴ, a strawberry farm in Itoman. Here, you pick your own strawberries in their covered greenhouse. They just opened this year and they grow 5 different varieties of strawberries.
When you enter, you take off your shoes and put them in the cubby, then wear the rubber slippers provided for you. Next you will be handed a basket with a tray in it. You are instructed in the method of how to pluck the strawberries, by turning the tops downwards and pulling gently (look at the picture signs they have for you to understand what I mean).
What I like about this place is that there is no entrance fee (!) and you simply pay for as many as you pick (2yen per 1 gram). We enjoyed some time choosing from the different varieties of berries and ended up with about 950yen worth of strawberries. These berries were so sweet and delicious, it was such a good value. If you want, they also have some benches you can sit at and enjoy eating your berries after you have paid for them, or you can get a bag to carry them home in if you prefer. I highly recommend trying Chura Ichigo!
Some other places, such as some farms in Ginoza (up north) and Tomoyu Farm in Nakagusuku, have only a tabehoudai 食べ放題 (all-you-can-eat) plan where you pay a certain amount (usually 1300yen for adults) and you can eat as many strawberries as you want in 20 minutes. For me, I prefer to savor my berries since they are a rare treat; I don’t want to scarf them down in a certain amount of time. So while I appreciate the novelty of the tabehoudai idea, it is not how I wish to enjoy my strawberries.
*Chura Ichigo is only open on Saturdays and Wednesdays until May, starting from 10am until they are out of berries for the day. Most strawberry picking places in Okinawa begin their season around February and close by May.