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Harvest What You Eat


A farm-to-table experience in Yamagata


Japan is known around the world for its exquisite washoku (Japanese cuisine). It is here in bucolic corners of the country like the Tohoku region that the ingredients of this cuisine are produced. If you have ever wondered what goes into growing and harvesting soybeans, rice, and other crops, here is a fascinating opportunity for you and your traveling companions to experience the farm- to- table process in Yamagata Prefecture.


By collaborating with local farmers, an overnight homestay on a farm is now available through The Hidden Japan, whose English-speaking staff will help make your stay both enjoyable and educational. From summer soybeans to winter carrots and turnips, as well as the rice harvest in early fall, you have a choice of when to visit and what to pick. These local ingredients will be carefully prepared into mouth-watering dishes by the Onodera family, who operate Naa, a guesthouse inside their traditional farmhouse, which dates back over a century.






Upon arrival, stroll through the village on the outskirts of Tsuruoka City before tucking into delectable, hearty regional fare while chatting with the locals. The next morning, it may be hard to rise out of the fluffy futon bedding, but farmers are up before the sunrise, and you won’t want to miss their explanation (with the help of your guide) of the process of harvesting their crops. After receiving a bag of the produce that has just been harvested, chef Norimasa Onodera will guide you through the best techniques for cooking to achieve the optimal flavor. Take his precious lessons home with you, and impress your family and friends with your newly acquired Japanese culinary awareness and prowess. 


Programs vary by season, so if your visit falls outside the harvest windows for the crops listed above, please consult The Hidden Japan about creating a farm tour specially designed for you. 


Access: From Tokyo Station, take the Joetsu Shinkansen to Niigata Station, (about two hours), then take the Inaho express train to Tsuruoka Station (about one hour, 50 minutes) and take a taxi from Tsuruoka Station (about 10 minutes).






Farmer Homestay Programs in Tsuruoka City (The Hidden Japan)


41 Fukuda Ko, Tsuruoka-shi, Yamagata-ken


1 night, 2 days




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