One day, while trying to find something to get us out of the house, Hunter suggested we check out a wasabi farm near Matsumoto City. I realized I knew literally nothing about this green, earthy root before I went (despite having eaten it with sushi for years), and I left a little more knowledgeable!
The Daio Wasabi Farm has a little bit of everything; beautiful walking trails alongside neatly kept rows of wasabi plants, a small foot bath so you can feel the cold, snow melt used to grow the wasabi for yourself, picturesque watermills featured in an Akira Kurosawa film, and all the wasabi snacks, sweets, souvenirs, and foods you could ever want.
When we entered the farm, the first thing we saw was the shop selling wasabi ice cream. “We’ll be back for you later!” we promised, then headed further in.
A few steps away was an interesting view of the wasabi plants. All of them had giant black tarps suspended above them; this is to protect them from direct sun, which will badly damage them, while still giving them the benefits of sunlight that they need to grow.
The next thing we noticed was this wasabi statue. There were lots of people posing with it and… making fun of its shape… so we had to wait to get a picture until before we left.
We paused for a second to play Pokemon Go (we DEFinitely weren’t the only ones), then walked along the trails running just a few feet from the wasabi plants. They were covered in shade when we went, making it a welcome relief from the sun.
Further down one such path was a small, almost beach area where you could take off your shoes and step in the crystal clear water to see how cold it was. MAN it was cold! Can’t believe wasabi actually preFERS that kind of water!
The last thing we visited before getting ice cream were two waterwheels. They were absolutely beautiful, and definitely worthy of a spot in the movie Dreams by Akira Kurosawa! We could see lots of plant life thriving in the waters below and watched people take short boat tours down the river in inflatable rafts.
Last but not least, we came back to the wasabi ice cream as promised. You can read more about what it tasted like on a separate post, but it was very refreshing and delicious! We also checked out the souvenir shops by the front. We bought some sweet, wasabi karinto (super yummy) and some wasabi shichimi, a spice I’ve become addicted to since moving here. I was tempted to buy some wasabi chocolates, but the long, hot car ride back and the price (over ￥1000 I think) put me off.
All in all, makes for a great adventure for an hour or two!