Harvest What Will be Eaten

A farm to table experience

Japan is known around the world for its exquisite Washoku cuisine, and 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, including 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 local 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 of the process of harvesting their crops, accompanied by a local guide. After receiving a bag of the crop that has just been harvested, chef Onodera will guide you in the best techniques of cooking them for optimal flavor.
Take his precious lessons home with you to 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 tour specially designed for you.

Access: From Tokyo Station, take the Shinkansen bullet train to Niigata Station, about 2 hours. From Niigata Station, take the train to Tsuruoka Station, about 1 hours and 50 minutes. From Tsuruoka Station, go by car, about 10 minutes.

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