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Great place for a pit stop on a trip OR to hang out for locals
Price: 0 yen
National route's Roadside stations are the old equivalent of parking areas on expressways. In the Kanto area, they are not as popular or as necessary as they once were, but some of them have tried their best to keep business up. Occasionally you come across a gem like Ichigo no Sato, which is more like a town centre than a roadside station.
Ichigo no Sato is near the strawberry picking area of Yoshimi. In fact, it is hub for those farms providing information for locals and tourists on the farms in the area. It also sells local fruit and vegetables, and supports farmers from the Tohoku region too. The farmer's market has a regular busy trade. Next to the farmer's market there is an ice-cream shop that is known for its delicious strawberry flavoured ice-cream. Beside that there is a restaurant, information centre and gathering spot. The path from that restaurant leads to a small alley of street vendors and restaurants, which are in converted huts. The stalls aren't there all the time and some of the restaurants don't open daily, but they are in full swing at the weekends and on holidays. On these days there is often a flea market in the courtyard too. Across the road is a bakery that makes fresh sandwiches and bakery goods daily. They only make a certain amount of each on a given day, so if they have been busier than they expected they can be sold out before lunch. However, you can grab a coffee and use the rest area there at anytime during the opening hours. There is an outdoor deck with picnic tables at the front. Our favourite is the playground. It is a small playground, but it is relatively new and maintained very well. It has some quirky equipment you don't see very often elsewhere.
The hours for each shop, restaurant and service are different and can be found on the official website, which unfortunately is in Japanese only. The station is easy to find as it is beside the Coca-Cola factory!