In FY2019, 25,400 tons of strawberries were produced in Tochigi prefecture. Since 1968, meaning for over a half century, we have been the largest strawberry producer in Japan. The background of this achievement is the history of producers, agricultural groups, and the government working together to conduct cultivation technique research and repeated breed improvement. In recent years, summer and autumn strawberries that are shipped between June and October have been produced. Delicious strawberries can now be enjoyed throughout the year.
To further develop the "Strawberry Kingdom Tochigi", Japan's first "Strawberry Research Institute" opened in 2008. The Institute not only grows new breeds and develops new techniques to support next-generation cultivation but also has newly acquired capabilities to survey and analyze consumption trends and provide training. As the comprehensive strawberry R&D base, the institute is supporting the "Strawberry Kingdom".
Tochiotome strawberries are rich in flavor and very juicy. The Tochiotome's good balance between sweetness and sourness is the blessing of winter sunshine.
Skyberry is large in size and features the traditional flavor. The fruit tastes light, sweet, and juicy. Skyberry is the perfect choice for indulging yourself or as a gift to someone important to you.
Tochihime is a super rare variety that can be eaten only at strawberry farms operating also as tourist destinations in Tochigi prefecture. It is large and red all the way through the fruit. With a soft skin and fruit, Tochihime is juicy and very sweet.
Natsuotome strawberries are harvested during summer. They are sour and are perfect ingredients for sweets such as gelato. You'll see red hearts in the middle when you cut one in half.
Milkyberry strawberries are large and tasty and feature a bright white skin and fruit. As the name suggests, the fruit is as white as milk. The creamy texture and sweetness make Milkyberry special.
Tochi-Aika is a new variety developed by the Strawberry Research Institute, and 2020 was the first year of shipment. It is characterized by little sourness and plenty of sweetness. Because the hull area is depressed, the fruit looks like a heart symbol when cut in half.
Taking advantage of the Tochigi climate and environment, sweet and delicious strawberries are made possible by greenhouse cultivation with the maximum use of winter sunshine to make strawberries ripen slowly under a constant temperature. Use of a control system enabled with advanced information communication technology (ICT) for managing the greenhouse temperature, humidity, illumination level, and CO2 concentration allows strawberry farmers to increase the harvest of higher-quality strawberries.
The shape generally has no influence on the taste. Choose large and glossy strawberries. They taste the best when the entire fruit is red. Strawberries are the sweetest at their tip. Therefore, satisfaction increases if you save the tip to the end.
One of the ways to fully enjoy delicious Tochigi strawberries is "strawberry picking" at strawberry farms open for tourists. There are many farms in the prefecture. Although the variety of strawberries available and the picking procedure vary with the site, farms in general offer a 30-minute all-you-can-eat picking program. These farms receive many tourists from not only inside and outside Tochigi but also from overseas (mainly from South East Asia), and visitors are satisfied by the natural flavor of strawberries.
For more details, visit strawberry farm websites.
In Tochigi prefecture, you can enjoy a wide variety of desserts using strawberries such as strawberry gelato made by mixing strawberries and fresh milk ice cream or pancakes with a lot of strawberries.
We have exported strawberries primarily to South East Asian countries including Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia. We also had opportunities to carry out a wide variety of PR activities. Our strawberries have been very well received.
PR activity in the USA
Strawberry stand in Thailand
Strawberries are the leading agricultural product of Tochigi prefecture. The prefecture has many strawberry farms open to tourists where they can pick strawberries and eat them as well as places that offer tasty desserts.
In this video, three foreigners living in Tochigi prefecture visit these places, learn how to pick strawberries and the characteristics of each variety, and wholeheartedly enjoy (Japan's best) strawberries that Tochigi prefecture proudly presents!
One of the important elements in growing strawberries is greenhouse temperature control. We have installed a temperature control system that uses data accumulated by the Tochigi prefectural government and have successfully stabilized the growth. The most rewarding moment for us, producers, is when consumers eat high-quality strawberries we have grown and say "delicious." Please try our Tochigi strawberries.