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Okayama is blessed with soft and delightful climate.
Thanks to that, we can harvest various kinds of fruits all year round.
My favorites are peaches and grapes which have a good reputation nationwide
Speaking of fruits from Okayama, strawberries are in season at the moment
So I’ll show you some spots where you can taste fresh strawberries
I highly recommend a strawberry picking if you’d like to taste fresh strawberries.
We visited ‘Yasuhara kanko ichigoen (strawberry farm)’.
It takes about 40min by car from Okayama station.
You can eat strawberries as much as you like within 40munites (1500yen).
As you can see, strawberries are grown on the shelves in this greenhouse, so you don’t need to stoop to pick them
Fresh strawberries are juicy and sweet
I got a big one
In this greenhouse, there are four types of strawberries, and each of them has different taste.
Personaly, I’m fond of ‘Akihime’ and ‘Beni-hoppe’ which has rich flavour.
Apparently, tasty strawberries have four distinctive features.
By the way, this farm closes if it runs out of strawberries.
So maybe you’d better visit there in the morning
Yasuhara kanko ichigoen
Address: 433 Hayataka, Kurashiki City
Opening time: 10:00
Close: please check on the website
Price: adults 1500yen (40min)
Access: 10min by car from Hayashima IC
Besides this farm, we have many other places where you can enjoy fruits picking.
You can pick strawberries in spring (December - May), peaches in summer (July - September), grapes in autumn (August - November) etc…
Why don’t you try it
Apart from that, we have fantastic local specialty of fruits produced in Oakayama.
It’s a fruits parfait, a glass of fruits in season and ice cream
http://www.okayama-cci.or.jp/fruitparfait/ (fruits parfait of Okayama)
So, shall we try it
We headed for a sweets shop in Okayama City, ‘gelateria Misao’.
It takes about 50min by car from Okayama station.
The way to there is a bit complicated, but it should be ok if you follow small signboards on the road.
Such a lovely shop
This shop belongs to Misao farm, and it’s known for its freshly-made ice cream and other sweets.
Strawberries are so sweet
Uhh, they are so good
By the way, there’s a cage behind the shop, and you can see unusual birds like white peacocks
And it goes without saying that there are many other animals in this farm
So, it's the best place for sweets and animal lovers
Address: 628 Kitananaku, Minami Ward, Okayama City
Opening time: 10:30-18:00 (May-September)
Close: Mondays (October-April)
Menu: a fruits parfait 650yen, ice cream (double) 350yen
Speaking of strawberry, don’t forget ‘ichigo daifuku’
It’s a Japanese popular sweets, rice cake with whole strawberry in it
There are 9 flavours (some of them are seasonal)
Each daifuku (a rice cake) has bean-paste inside.
The flavour is varied, white bean, red bean, chocolate, green tea, pumpkin…
Finally we made up our mind.
The rice cake is so soft
Sweet bean-paste matches a fresh strawberry...
Pumpkin flavoured bean paste was also nice, and as well as tomato one.
Of course, we also tried daifuku with other fruit
They are delicious
Oh, just one thing, this shop is quite popular, so daifuku sometimes sell out before the noon.
Maybe you should go in the morning, or book daifuku on the phone
Address : 1-7-34 Shimonocho, Kojima, Kurashiki City
Tel : 9:00-18:00 (it closes if daifuku sell out)
Close : Mondays (it opens if it’s a holiday), the first Tuesday of the month
Menu: daifuku from 158yen
Access: 5min by car from JR Kojima station
I hope you enjoyed our story full of fruits from Okayama
Please try them when you come to Okayama! I’m sure you’ll like them
A: Yasuhara kanko ichigoen B: gelateria Misao C: Kangetsu-do
From what I’ve heard, octopus caught in winter is called ‘kan-dako’, and it’s especially delicious
Local people cook octopus in many ways.
Above all, ‘tako-meshi (octopus rice)’ is widely known as a local specialty.
So, why not visit Shimotsui and try octopus
We headed for Shimotsui port where octopus is landed all year round.
It takes an hour and a half by car from Okayama station.
©Hareranman Okayama tabi net
You can see the typical scenery of Shimotsui here
The brown pots on the ground are the tool for octopus hunting.
Near the port, there’s a Japanese restaurant, ‘Fukusen’ .
It offers various dishes of local octopus.
This is ‘takotako-gozen (octopus course)’. It looks gorgeous
Here’s ‘tako-meshi (octopus rice)’.
Octopus steamed with rice and fish stock (dashi).
Deep fried octopus (left) and sashimi (right).
The octopus is fresh and springy It’s the best ocyopus I've ever eaten
I’m especially fond of tako-meshi
Address : 2-8-39 Tanoura, Shimotsui, Kurashiki City
Tel : 086-479-9135
Opening time: 11:00-21:00
Menu : tako-meshi 850yen, takotako-gozen (octopus course) 2600yen,
tako sashimi teishoku (octopus sashimi course)1580yen etc
Access: 10min by car from JR Kojima station
3min by car from KojimaIC
Car park: 30cars
After lunch, we went for a walk around the port.
…what is that I found something hanging on the rope.
©Hareranman Okayama tabi net
They are dried octopus
It's also a really specialized product of Shimotsui.
Anyway, I really like them as they have a humorous feel
After lunch, we swung by ‘Yoshima parking area’ on Seto chuo motorway.
It’s a service area which has restaurants, shops, parks etc.
What’s more, there’s the observation deck as well
We found a lot of local specialties in the shop
What I recommend the most is a handmade ice cream (350yen)
We tried wasanbon (a high grade handmade sugar from Kagawa prefecture), moshio (rare salt), sweet potato flavour.
You can buy them at ‘café Marine chan’
The taste is not too sweet, really fresh.
These are local sweets from Kagawa prefecture.
Wasanbon candies (left), Oiri (right) .
Oiri is considered auspicious in Kagawa prefecture. So people eat it at happy occasion such as a wedding
The view from the observation deck is spectacular
Unfortunately it’s a bit foggy, but you can see beautiful sea and islands on sunny day
Yoshima parking area
Address: 587 Aza Nishikata, Yoshima cho, Sakaide City, Kagawa prefecture
Opening time: food court 8:00-21:00
café Marine chan 10:30-18:00
A: Fuku sen B: Yoshima parking area
It’s a rush mat used as a flooring material in traditional Japanese-style rooms.
Originally, a tatami mat was a symbol of power and prestige, but it gradually became part of people's daily lives.
Now, most of Japanese houses have tatami rooms.
To learn more about tatami, we visited a tatami-beri (the border) maker Takata Orimono in Kojima, Kurashiki City.
It takes an hour and a half by car from Okayama station
If you go there by train, get off at JR Kojima station and take a taxi.
A 15 munite-drive will take you there.
Takata Orimono offers a factory tour and mini tatami making class (a booking needed).
So we booked both of them
A tatami is made up of three components: the surface material, known as the tatami-omote; the inner core, tatami-doko; and the border material, tatami-beri.
As for Tatami-beri (the border), it’s a sort of fabric which is about 8cm wide.
It makes a tatami mat durable, and it also serve as a visual accent when the tatami are laid out on the floor.
Apparently, tatami-beri made in Kojima region captures 80 percent of the market
Apart from that, this company produces more than 1000 types of tatami-beri
These are traditional designs.
And, here you can see modern designs. They are so cute
It's even possible to order your original design.
Ok, it’s time to start the factory tour
Here’s a room where tatami-beri are woven.
You are not supposed to take photos in the factory.
Most of the manufacturing processes are automated.
Each machine can produce 15-30m of tatami-beri per hour.
Originally, tatami-beri was made of cotton, however, it turned into synthetics these days. This factory is producing both of them though.
After we looked around the factory, we moved to a room for a tatami making class.
There are a lot of items which were made from tatami-borders.
In that room, I saw many stuff I didn’t imagine
Coin cases, card holders and belts…
I can’t believe all that are made of tatami-beri
I also came across tatami which has unusual shapes
I’ve never seen tatami like those before.
I especially like a wine bag and Hina dolls wearing tatami-beri !
Oh, Momotaro is happy to find a coin case with his face
After that, we tried making mini tatami mat
These are tools you need.
First, choose your favorite tatabi-beri.
You have a lot of choice
I selected one with cat pattern.
So, let’s start
Ms Takata showed us the ropes at first.
Attach the tatami-omote (the surface) on the board.
Put tatami-beri and herigami (a paper) on the board.
Then hammer nails into the board and fix them.
Fold herigami (a paper) and tatami-beri.
Turn over it.
Fold the edge of tatami-beri then fix it to the board with nails.
Even though it’s small, it’s made using same materials as a regular size tatami.
It’ll come in useful when I display something like dolls or potteries on it
Thanks for your help, Ms Takata
You’ll find more about tatami if you join the factory tour.
Why don’t you try it
Address : 2-2-53 Karakoto, Kojima, Kurashiki City
Tel : 086-477-7162
Factory tour schedule: ask staff when you book the tour
(generally it starts at 10:30 or 13:00)
Close : weekends and holidays
Price : (factory tour) free of charge
(Tatami mat making) 525yen / person
The time required : factory tour 60-90mi
Tatami mat making 2hours
Booking : needed (booking is acceptable until 7days before your visit)
Access : 1hour and half by car from the centre of Okayama
15min by car from JR Kojima station