Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Japan trip Spring 2015 part 3 - March 22, Day 2: Kawatsura Strawberry Farm, Chiba, Shinjuku

On my second day of the trip, my brother was already leaving! He and everyone else except me and my bf actually arrived in Japan 24 hours sooner so they had one day before me. He needed to leave out of Narita Airport, so we wanted to plan things to do in that area. Or just fun things to do during his limited time in Japan in general. It turns out that January - March/April are good months for strawberry picking and there are a few farms in Chiba (near Narita) + his girlfriend LOVES berries, especially strawberries, so we decided to do strawberry picking for his last activity. I'm not a huge fan of strawberries or fruit myself but it sounded like fun so I definitely wanted to join. This was the reason I HAD to bring sneakers on the trip since the website mentioned it might be muddy and advised against wearing high heels. My brother's gf family didn't come with us and opted to stay back in Tokyo to shop.

OOTD - Liz Lisa lace sleeveless top, Swankiss denim skirt, Liz Lisa rose quilted bag, Nine West wedge sneakers and Charlotte Russe pom pom cropped knit. Also wearing my new Liz Lisa rose and bow hair clips.

The farm we chose to go to for strawberry picking is called Kawatsura Strawberry Farm. There are multiple options in/around Tokyo but I chose Kawatsura because I really liked their website, and it's all you can eat strawberries for 1500yen! It is located in Chiba, and the closest station is Naruto. It took us about 85 minutes and one transfer at Chiba to get to Naruto station from Shinagawa station. From Naruto station, it was suggested to take a taxi directly to the farm since it's about a 2 mile walk. They even prepared something for non-Japanese speaking tourists to print to hand to the taxi driver to provide easier access. Right outside the station, there were two taxis waiting. There were 6 of us total, and we split into 2 taxis with three people each. I believe the fare for the ride was a little less than 1000yen. [We didn't have to "pay" for transport from Shinagawa because we were able to use all JR lines to get to Naruto and are using the JR Rail Pass for unlimited JR access for 7 days, but I think one way it's about 1500yen.]

The taxis dropped us off right in front of the admission/main building for the farm.
Just inside, they have a lot of strawberry products for sale, and this is also where you pay for admission.
The women who helped us spoke English and was very friendly and nice. They ask that you store your personal items in the (free) lockers they provide such that they aren't getting in the way when you are picking strawberries.

After we paid for admission, the woman sent us down the path between the greenhouses towards a man who told us which greenhouses we could enter (I believe they rotate such that they can be in business everyday for strawberry pickers) and eat from and also explained the rules (also available on the website). Essentially, there is no time limit, eat the strawberries in the greenhouse, do not step over the plants or run around, don't mind the bees and things like that.
The outside of one of the greenhouses
Just inside. Rows and rows of strawberry plants!

You're given these little plastic trays that have a space for your strawberry tops and also a circular part that is supposed to hold a condensed milk. I don't like condensed milk so I gave mine to my bf lol.

There's also a trash area near the entrance if your little plastic tray gets full where you can dump your strawberry tops since you can eat and stay as much as you want. (I didn't take a picture because I thought it would be too gross lol. But the trash is sorted between strawberry waste, condensed milk waste and plastic tray waste.)

You're supposed to look for the reddest strawberries for the best taste. Size doesn't matter too much.
To pick them, twist twist twist the stem and then when it's ready, you should be able to pull gently without taking off too much of the plant.

There were quite a few people also there when we went but still there was plenty of room and lots of strawberries to pick from!


It took us a little while to realize this because we were so excited to just get started, but there are actually signs on each row that tell you what kind of strawberry is growing there. The first row we went down was full of non-sour soft bodied strawberries which is not my favorite at all (but still good of course). When we finally figured out to look at the signs, we all had a much better time because you could pick the strawberries that had the sourness and firmness that you preferred.
This yayoihime type strawberry was very popular and many of the red ones were gone!


There's also a manual water pump outside the greenhouse for you to clean your hands before and/or after

My bf and I also decided to check out the second, smaller greenhouse that we were allowed into that day.
This one was much smaller but it had plants that were elevated off the ground. Especially good for people who have a hard time crouching such as pregnant women or older people.

When we were done, we went back to the main building and I noticed they even had a cat enclosure in there! They also had flowers you could purchase (and pick) in there as well. This is also the building where the bathroom is located.

We anticipated having to catch a taxi back to the station, but employee who helped us earlier actually called the facility van to pick the 6 of us up and take us back to Naruto station! It was so nice of them to do that!

The next part of the plan was to go back to Chiba (approx 40 minutes away) and do light shopping or lunch before my brother had to go to the airport. Trains don't leave very often so we were killing some time before getting on the train. It turns out that we were on the wrong one, and the one leaving soonest left without us realizing it. We were sitting on a train that was going to be dormant for about an hour total. Since the trains don't run very often, we had no choice but to sit and wait another 30 minutes. Sigh, what a waste of time for my brother (and all of us really).

Once we finally got to Chiba station, my parents, my brother and his girlfriend went off without me and my bf to go take my brother to the airport. Apparently while they were waiting for the next train to Narita from Chiba, they ate ramen at one of the station shops and it was terrible/worst of the trip lol. They also ate again at the airport, and it was a little better lol.
Meanwhile, my bf's mission in Chiba was the Chiba Sansui (branch of fishing store also mentioned in Part 2a), so we headed over there.
Then, I wanted to check out the Chiba Liz Lisa location since we were already in the area, so we set off to go look for Aurora Mall Junnu.
Liz Lisa is on the second floor.
I looked around a little but didn't see anything I absolutely needed to buy at this particular location so I didn't purchase anything. I was hoping to make a purchase at the Shinjuku Alta location later in the day, so it didn't make sense to make two separate transactions, especially because I was trying to maximize on novelty items lol.

On the way out, I saw this ad and made my bf take my picture with it lol. Lighting is so bright on the sign that it didn't come out very good though.

After that, we had enough of Chiba and headed back towards Tokyo station. I wanted to go to a stationary story in Ginza to look for things for my coworker, so I suggested we stop for lunch at Torigin, a kamemeshi and yakitori restaurant I remembered that fourfeetnine and Timothy Tiah really enjoyed, also located in Ginza. I made sure I looked up the restaurant before we left the station because apparently Audrey and Tim got quite lost the second time they tried to go lol. The exit you want is like B3 or something like that I think. It is disguised as an Armani Exchange. From that exit, it's quite close. We got there around 03:00pm and the restaurant was quite full and busy actually!
We were seated at the counter in front of the chefs who prepared the yakitori. Also we had to ask for an English menu since we really couldn't read the Japanese one lol.

I ordered a chicken kamameshi and my bf ordered some kind of yakitori set that comes with 8 sticks. You can choose between a sweet sauce or salt as the flavoring for the yakitori.
Our verdict? My bf was not impressed lol. Apparently his grandmother makes kamameshi (wtf I didn't know and this was my first time eating it lol) so that wasn't all that special to him, and he didn't overly enjoy any of the yakitori either lol. He tried both kinds of flavoring and expected the sweet shoyu sauce to be really good, but I agreed that it wasn't anything spectacular unfortunately. My bf said he wouldn't go back lol. I would, I think. I reasonably enjoyed the kamameshi but if we can eat it at home, I don't think there's an special reason to side track to Ginza for it again. I guess our taste for food is quite different from fourfeetnine & Timothy Tiah's haha. Or maybe we ordered the wrong thing :|.
After that, I meant to go to the stationary store also in Ginza (and the reason for stopping there, really) but I totally forgot about that until like 3 whole days later when I realized I didn't go lol. We didn't leave the restaurant until closer to 4:00pm anyway since the food takes a while to prepare, and we were eager to just get back to the hotel for a quick break.

Another reason to go back to the hotel was that I had to change my tights because I managed to put not one but two runs in my tights during the day wtf. One I created like first thing in the morning right before we left even wtf but I didn't have time to change them lol :|

Next/last on the agenda for the day was Shinjuku. My bf wanted to go to the Shinjuku Sansui and I wanted to go to the Shinjuku Alta Liz Lisa. (Are you seeing a pattern here yet? Lol.)
I think it was a little drizzly that night. Sorry no pictures in/around Shinjuku Alta! And we were kind of tired from what seemed like a full day even though most of it was on trains. We simply went to these two stores and then decided to leave Shinjuku lol. We were supposed to meet up with the rest of the group, but my bf was too lazy to walk to find them, so we just went back to the station and headed back to Shinagawa.

On the train on the way back, I looked up where to eat around Shinagawa station and a few websites mentioned a "ramen street" that was nearby. To find it, leave the JR Shinagawa station through the Takanawa Exit and turn left before the crosswalk. Keep walking for about a block and a half and you will eventually see it on your left down a small set of stairs. There's about 7 or 8 ramen restaurants down there I think. Based on the internet review I read, I knew I wanted to go to one in particular called Kibi because they serve shoyu ramen.
It was a vending machine type restaurant (most if not all of the restaurants in this "ramen street" are like this). Pay for the meal outside via the machine and then hand your ticket to an employee inside. Once inside, the food arrived reasonably fast!
The gyoza came out first. I was surprised to see it because it didn't read as a set on the machine, but I guess it just comes with it? I don't really eat gyoza but I tried one and let my bf eat the rest. He ordered some sort of dark broth ramen and mine was just the regular shoyu one. It was pretty good. We ate quickly and then just left. Something really handy about the vending machine restaurants is that you don't have to worry about waiting/paying the check because it's already paid, and you can leave as soon as you're done.

My shopping for the day -
Liz Lisa shopping bag on the left from Shinjuku Alta and a pair of 80 denier tights from 3 Coins at Shimbashi station on the right because they were 50% off lol.

From Liz Lisa -
Yui Kanno collab cardigan in white, Champouf flower charm in white, Stripe peekaboo OP in pink, Shinjuku Alta Spring Festival limited OP in pink + Big ribbon mirror and pouch novelties in pink & notebook novelty
The reason I didn't want to purchase anything from the Chiba Liz Lisa (as mentioned earlier) was because I knew I wanted to try and get the limited OP from Shinjuku Alta that day. I wasn't planning on getting the cardigan, but the sales girl talked me into it lol.


Day 2 included a lot of sitting on trains >,<. Reflecting on it now, I think this might have been the most fail day of the trip because of getting on the train on the wrong track in Naruto and traveling such a far distance for such a small reward and wasting time while doing it. Plus I wasted a pair of tights by putting two huge runs in it. Plus a restaurant I was thinking would be A+ was more like a C for my bf lol. And we went out of the way to go to Ginza but didn't even go to the stationary store haha. There were a lot of things that didn't exactly go according to plan this day.
However, Kawatsura strawberry farm certainly was fun and the strawberries were quite good + we received great service there. I would definitely recommend it if strawberries are in season and you have some time to kill and don't mind the distance!

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  Japan trip Spring 2015 posts
Part 1 - Pre-trip planning
Part 2a - March 21, Day 1: Liz Lisa Shibuya 109 Yui Kanno event
Part 2b - March 21, Day 1: Hawkeye Owl Cafe
Part 3 - March 22, Day 2: Kawatsura Strawberry Farm, Chiba, Shinjuku
Part 4 - March 23, Day 3: Tsukiji Fish Market, Yokohama, Machida
Part 5 - March 24, Day 4: Omiya, Ikebukuro, Takadanobaba, Asakusa & luggage forwarding
Part 6 - March 25, Day 5: Shibuya, Shinkansen & Osaka
Part 7 - March 26, Day 6: Tennoji MIO, Nara Deer Park
Part 8 - March 27, Day 7: Kobe (steak), Namba/Shinsaibashi & Keiko
Part 9 - March 28, Day 8: Kyoto, Berri & home
Part 10 - Hotels and Pupuru pocket wifi review
Part 11 - Liz Lisa shopping items/coordinates
Part 12 - Liz Lisa x My Melody 6th collab OPs and hand towel 

Japan trip Summer 2014 posts
Japan trip Summer 2015 posts

10 comments:

  1. awww the strawberry farm is so cute <3 and so are the liz lisa items ^^

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  2. Ahh thanks for posting so many photos! It's always nice being able to see bits and pieces
    I love your haul! You always have such nice taste in clothes *_* your outfit and nails are adorable, too!

    Can't wait to see your future Japan trip posts!

    b l o g ♡

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    1. Tbh I couldn't wait to come home and blog! I'm so excited to share about my trip lol. In reality, it wasn't extraordinarily exciting, but I still had a good time :)
      Thank you!

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  3. That strawberry farm looks really nice *^* Makes me want to go to one but here you can just drive to a farm and buy strawberries in a cup instead of picking them yourself >_<
    I like to read your opinion about all these different restaurants. It could be really useful one day ^w^
    Also that owl cafe is a really good tip *^* Thank you for that!!

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    1. You can easily buy the strawberries (picked) as well, but I think the fun part is supposed to be the actual activity of picking! Lol. Like in apple orchards and orange groves and things like that. Plus, according to the website, some people have literally picked and eaten over a hundred strawberries in one visit and I'm sure if you had to pay for it individually, it would have cost a lot more than 1500yen.
      I guess if that's part of your daily life, it's more like a chore, but for people who live in the city/non rural areas, it can be exciting to pick fruit once in awhile lol.

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  4. Hi,
    I am planning to go to Kawatsura Strawberry Farm in about two weeks time and was looking for someone to make a review on this. Thanks for writing about this! :) Was a bit worried about the taxi fare as I heard that Japan taxis are very expensive. Do you remember how much are they selling the strawberry there if we plan to bring home? Didn't know they have cat enclosure there! Are visitors allowed to go in? Also, how much does the clothes at Liz Lisa? Looks really pretty!
    Looking forward for your reply. Thanks. :)

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    1. Hi there! We didn't buy any fresh strawberries there (although we did buy lots of the other products) but my parents were guessing that it was about 500-600yen per pack. I think the cat enclosure if not for entry but we didn't ask! It's not very big though and the cats seem pretty shy.
      The clothes at Liz Lisa are around 9936yen for OPs and 6480yen - 7452yen each for tops and bottoms. You can check out the prices yourself at the online store if you're interested to know more specifics :) http://www.tokyokawaiilife.jp/shop/liz-lisa

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  5. Strawberry picking looks so nice and fun! So nice that they have some that are elevated for people who are not able too. The Shinjuku limited dress sis so nice!

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    1. If we hadn't messed up catching the train, it would have been a good side trip!

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