It might be hard to believe in this chilly weather, but the strawberry picking season starts in Kanto this weekend. The season runs from mid January through until April or May depending on location. Some farms allow the public to come in and pick their own strawberries. One such orchard which is easily accessible from central Tokyo is Kimura Budoen (Kimura Grape Garden) in Setagaya ward. Entry to the orchard is free and they charge 420yen per 100g of strawberries weighed – of course if you snack on strawberries as you go it gets a lot more economical! The closest station is Kaminoge on the Tokyu Oimachi Line that runs from Oimachi Station in Shinagawa Ward. To check if the orchard is open, you can call them beforehand on 03-3701-0430.
Continuing in the horticultural vein, winter in Tokyo is prime time for an ornamental flower for which Japan is well known – the Camellia. While camellias can be found flowering everywhere around the city, a couple of spots offer a chance to see an abundance of varieties. The Koishikawa Botanical Gardens connected to the University of Tokyo Graduate School of Science is one such place. The Camellia garden contains approximately 800 trees with 50 to 60 different varieties. The gardens are open from 10am to 3pm everyday except Thursdays and the closest stations are Myogadani on the Tokyo Metro Marunouchi Line and Hakusan on the Toei Mita Line. Admission is 330yen for adults and 110yen for children.
The regular Earthday Market (link in Japanese) returns for the first time in the New Year this Sunday the 27th of January from 10am to 4pm in the Keyaki Namiki part of Yoyogi Park (the path that runs from Shibuya towards the main part of the park). You can grab some organic veggies along with food, drinks and various crafts. Admission is free and the closest station is Meijijingumae/Harajuku on the Tokyo Metro Chiyoda and Fukutoshin Lines and the JR Yamanote Line.
Our video guide to the tuna auctions at the shiny new Toyosu Fish Market