Nestled in the peaceful countryside of Azumino, Japan lies the charming Daio Wasabi Farm, the largest wasabi farm in the country. While the farm is most famous for cultivating tons of the spicy green condiment wasabi each year, it also draws visitors for its picturesque scenery featuring traditional thatched roof houses, flowing streams, and a giant wooden waterwheel.
This massive 16-foot tall waterwheel sits lazily spinning in a crystal clear stream, surrounded by vibrant yellow and green foliage. It almost looks like something out of a Ghibli anime film! The waterwheel was originally constructed for acclaimed director Akira Kurosawa’s 1990 movie “Dreams,” but after filming it was left behind and incorporated into the natural beauty of the farm.
In addition to being a feast for the eyes, the waterwheel makes for a unique hands-on experience for visitors. From April to November, you can take a ride down the river in a clear-bottomed boat to view the waterwheel up close and personal. Feel the light spray of the water on your face and admire the moss and greenery growing on the wheel as it creaks slowly around. It’s a serene 20-minute boat tour that lets you lose yourself in the scenic countryside.
The Daio Wasabi Farm has even more to offer its guests beyond its famous waterwheel. Stop by its restaurant to try wasabi-infused foods like wasabi soba noodles, wasabi tempura, and incredibly, even wasabi ice cream and wine! The shops sell tasty wasabi products and kits to bring home. And watch the farming process first-hand to see how this difficult crop is cultivated.
So for a delightful day trip where you can ride boats, sample strange foods, learn about agriculture, and of course, take endless picturesque photos, a visit to the Daio Wasabi Farm in Azumino is a must. Its peaceful scenery and unique waterwheel experience gives guests a perfect taste of traditional Japanese country life.