It was a sizzling hot summer day when we visited Matsumoto farm in Hiji. From Hiji station we took a ten-minute taxi ride, which led us up and down several slopes until we reached a green garden at the foot of a mountain.
Matsumoto-san and his wife, the owners of the pear garden, were very hospitable. They offered us some of their home-grown fruit as they were cut, so we gladly accepted. I can safely say that their freshly picked pears are the best I have ever tasted—so sweet, juicy and crisp. And the best thing about Matsumoto’s pear garden is the miniscule 300 yen fee for an all-you-can-eat feast. We could even take their delicious pears back home at a bargain price of 500 yen per kg.
Matsumoto’s wife prepared a set of trays, knives, cotton wipers and baskets for us to raid their garden. After selecting some succulent ripe pears, we were taken to a twenty-year-old pear tree located in the center of the place. Imagine picking the best quality pears fresh from the branches and sharing them with family or friends—definitely one of the sweetest moments you can have in your life.
I spotted some colorful koi (Japanese carp) swimming in the garden’s small pond. Noticing me watching the carp, Matsumoto-san brought over a cup of fish food so I could interact more with them. Just like their owners, the fish are very friendly; they ate food from my hand and let me touch their heads. So cute!
I don’t recommend wearing shorts, as there are a lot of insects in Matsumoto garden. Bring insect repellent (or rely on the kindness of the owners to lend you some), or you will pay for your forgetfulness in blood! Though the mosquitoes are annoying, they are evidence of something quite positive: there are no chemicals used for plant protection.
This pear picking period lasts from mid-August until the end of October, so plan your trip in advance. I hope you can come and enjoy the delicious fruits of the farmers’ year of labor.