By Cathy Cawood
Voted as the top hundred Japan roadside tree views, stretching for an approximately 2.5 kilometers straight road is a row of Metasequoia trees just outside Makino Pic-Land. Known as redwoods and having its origins from China, about 500 of these Metasequoia trees are planted on both sides of the road, creating a sort of symmetrical landscape. These trees are about 35 meters in height and change their colors as the season changes. Fresh green in spring, deep green in summer, colorful red in autumn, bare and snow-capped in winter.
Next to the row of Metasequoia trees is Makino Pic-land, a huge agricultural garden where you can enjoy picking fruits and eating them fresh. The varieties of fruits on offer differ by seasons, ranging from cherries and blueberries in May and June, to sweet potatoes and apples in September and October. Fruit picking can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. However, fruit picking needs an advanced reservation by phone and the website is only in Japanese.
Fresh fruits can also be bought at the market. There are about sixteen varieties available and the website shows which ones are available in which periods. During the non-fruit harvesting periods, you can still enjoy freshly produced vegetables cultivated locally. Some vegetables like shiitake mushrooms and green onions are shipped here throughout the year.
In the center of it all, the main building contains a souvenir shop, and a rest place. Hand-made gelato is a popular item especially in summer. They come in three different sizes, some flavors are available throughout the year, and some are only sold during specific seasons. The restaurant uses locally produced rice and vegetables. A speciality here is the deer cutlet and venison stew. Buffets are served on weekends, and there is even a barbeque menu.
The entire area is actually very big, with a huge park and lots of grass patches. Facilities like soccer and gateball are also available. Makino Pic-land is certainly a good place to spend an entire day with family and friends.
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I still clearly remember the day I first landed in Japan, and since then it has been my goal to set foot in all 47 prefectures. I try to look for less touristy areas, preferring the countryside to the city. I'm always amazed by the many Haagen Dazs and ice cream flavors available only in Japan.