A fun side trip from Matsumoto that packs a punch
When visiting Matsumoto in japan, there is a hidden gem just a short distance away that is definitely worth a visit. The Daio Wasabi Farm in Azumino is a 15-hectare farm that offers a unique and immersive experience into the world of wasabi. Whether you love or hate wasabi, this farm is guaranteed to leave a lasting impression.
Located just a short distance from Matsumoto, the Daio Wasabi Farm is easily accessible by bus, taxi, or bike from Hotaka Station on the JR Oito Line. The journey from Matsumoto takes around 30 minutes, making it a convenient day trip option for those staying in the city. Buses operate on weekends between mid-April and October, providing a scenic route to the farm. For those who prefer a more leisurely experience, renting a bike at Hotaka Station is a popular option. The ride through the Nagano countryside offers stunning views and allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the area.
Upon arriving at the Daio Wasabi Farm, visitors are greeted by the expansive grounds and the breathtaking scenery. The farm has been in operation since 1917 and is the largest commercial wasabi farm in the world. The plants thrive in the mineral-charged water from the neighboring Alps, creating the perfect conditions for their growth. The rows of perfectly spaced wasabi plants in their cultivated gravel beds are not only functional but also visually stunning. They resemble Zen gardens, with their meticulous design conforming to the flow of the streams running through the property.
Wandering the farm at leisure is a must-do activity. The network of walking trails allows visitors to explore every corner of the farm and discover its hidden gems. Watermills and thatch-roofed houses, which were constructed as part of a set for Akira Kurosawa’s film “Dreams,” can be found along the banks of the Tate River. These structures add an extra layer of charm to the already picturesque surroundings. During the warmer months, visitors can even take a short rafting ride for a different perspective of the farm and its surroundings.
After working up an appetite exploring the farm, visitors can head to the on-site restaurant to sample an eclectic mix of wasabi-based cuisine. From wasabi pickles to wasabi rice crackers, the menu offers a wide variety of dishes that showcase the unique flavor of wasabi. For those who are more adventurous, wasabi soba, wasabi croquettes, and even wasabi curry are available. The restaurant also serves wasabi soft-serve ice cream, which offers a surprising combination of sweetness and spiciness. To wash it all down, visitors can try a green glass of wasabi beer or opt for a non-alcoholic wasabi soda. And of course, fresh wasabi is also available for those who want to experience the flavor in its purest form.
Before heading back to Matsumoto, a visit to the farm’s shop is a must. Here, visitors can find a wide range of wasabi-related products and gifts to take home as souvenirs. From wasabi-flavored KitKats to wasabi-infused snacks and condiments, there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Overall, a trip to the Daio Wasabi Farm is a truly unique and memorable experience. Whether you are a fan of wasabi or simply curious about its cultivation and uses, this farm offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of this popular condiment. The beautiful grounds, the delicious cuisine, and the immersive atmosphere make it a must-visit destination for anyone traveling in the Matsumoto area. So, if you find yourself in Japan, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the Daio Wasabi Farm in Azumino. You won’t be disappointed.
Address And Maps Location:
3640 Hotaka, Azumi-shi, Nagano-ken