Sweet potato digging is an autumn tradition that all Japanese kindergarten and early elementary kids partake in October through December. In Japanese sweet potatoes are called “satsumaimo”. Enjoy a nice autumn day outside central Tokyo and go sweet potato digging. Below are five recommended locations to go Japanese sweet potato digging. Also don’t forget to take boots and light weight gloves for digging. It`s fun, but messy. If you like getting your hands dirty, and picking and eating fruits and veggies, check out our recommended farms in the Tokyo area.
* To prevent the spread of COVID-19 please wear a mask. Temperatures will be taken at the entrance.
Sweet Potato Digging – Japanese Autumn Tradition
Sweet potatoes are extremely popular in Japan and can be found being peddled around your neighbourhood during the autumn and winter months, and in all types of Japanese dishes in homes and restaurants. If you hear a person outside calling “Yaaaaa-kiiiii-moe, iiiiiiishii yaaaa-kiii-mooooe.”, grab some coins and run outside to buy a red-hot imo from an ishi-yakiimo seller. If you go digging or shopping here are some great Japanese sweet potato recipes to enjoy with your family!
Sweet potatoes were not a natural crop in Japan. However, in the mid-18th there were several years of crop failures and nationwide starvation. A bright and optimistic man named Aoki decided to try introducing sweet potatoes to help solve the problem. Sweet potatoes were first planted in Saitama, and still today Saitama is known for its sweet potatoes. If you visit Kawagoe, you can get sweet potato ice-cream, candy and more. Chiba also has a lot of sweet potato farms.
**** Remember to check each farm’s website for changes in information.
Sweet Potato Digging – Japanese Autumn Tradition
1. Koyama Noen (小山農園, こやまのうえん) Narita, Chiba – Farm that offers vegetable picking year round. You can also pick chestnuts this time of year.
address: 151-6 Toyomi, Narita-shi, Chiba-ken (千葉県成田市十余三151-6)
phone: 0476-32-0428 / 090-4847-7644 (Japanese language only)
Sweet potato digging: Open daily September 1, 2019 – end of October from 10:00 -16:00. Cost is 300 yen for entry to the park and 300 yen for each potato.
Access: From JR Narita Station take a bus to Toyomi Kyoei stop (十余三共栄) which takes about 20 mins. Walk 3 mins to the farm.
website: www.koyama.noen.biz/ (Japanese language only)
2. Inage Noen (稲毛農園, いなげのうえん) Chiba-shi, Chiba
address: 5 Inage-cho, Inage-ku, Chiba-shi, Chiba-ken (千葉県千葉市稲毛区稲毛町5)
phone: 043-243-7199(Japanese language only)
Sweet potato digging: Open daily October 1 – November 3rd, from 10:00-15:00. Cost is 500 yen for five potatoes.
Access: From JR Shin-Kemigawa Station walk 20 mins to the farm.
3. Arahata Noen (荒幡農園, あらはたのうえん) Kawagoe-shi, Saitama – Have fun at the Arahata farm where you can also pick daikon and carrots this season. My third son’s nursery class went to the Arahata farm, and it was very relaxing and fun for kids and moms. If you are going to Kawagoe, make it a day trip and enjoy “old Edo” Kawagoe.
address: Minamiotsuka 6-12-33, Kawagoe-shi, Saitama (埼玉県川越市南大塚6-12-33)
phone: 049-243-3895 (Japanese language only)
Sweet potato digging: Open daily (except when raining) middle of September – beginning of November, from 10:00 -15:00. Cost is 1,000 yen for seven potatoes.
Access: Take the Seibu Train to Minami-Ōtsuka Station, then take the south exit and walk 20 minutes to the farm.
website: http://www.arahatanouen.com/ (Japanese language only)
4. PonPoko Mura Nogyo Koen, (農業公園 ぽんぽこ村, のうぎょうこうえん ぽんぽこむら) Kisarazu, Chiba – Pesticide free vegetable picking.
address: Ushibukurono 506, Inage-ku, , Chiba-ken (千葉県木更津市牛袋野506)
phone: 0438-98-0115 (Japanese language only)
Sweet potato digging: Open daily mid-September – mid-November from 9:00 – 17:00. 2500 yen for JHS and up. Elementary school age and under are free. Reservations required.
Access: From JR Sodegaura Station take the free shuttle for 5 mins. Call before hand to request shuttle.
website: http://ponpokomura.jp (Japanese language only)
5. Musashi No Mura (むさしの村) Kazo, Saitama– This farm is part of an amusement park that is open year-round. You can dig for potatoes and ride a roller coaster all in one location. Open from the end of September mid November for Sweet potato digging. They also have chestnuts and carrots during the same season. The entry fee for the amusement parts is just under 3,000 yen for a free pass on all rides. Check link below for details since fees sometimes change. We went once and the younger kids really had a blast.
address: 1700-1 Shidami, Kazo City, Saitama (埼玉県加須市志多見1700-1)
phone: 0480-61-4126 (Japanese language only)
Sweet potato digging: September 21, 2019 – early-November. Cost is 500 yen for 3 bunches of sweet potatoes.
If you are heading out to Chiba or Saitama, check out our recommend family activities.
Other Day Trips or Weekend Trips from Tokyo
**** Remember to check each farm’s website for changes in information. ****
Sweet Potato Digging – A Fun Autumn Tradition