#3759

One Vine Day…

Katsunuma's Grape Festival is a fine opportunity to learn about Japanese wines

Those who follow trends in alcoholic beverages may know, that Japan`s whiskies have done very well in international competitions. For example, Distiller Suntory was named` Distiller of the Year` at the International Spirit Challenge this year-for the third consecutive time.

Japanese wines have yet to reach similar heights of distinction, but for those who would appreciate a chance to sample a wide variety in one place - and combine it with a lovely setting away from the hustle of Tokyo - the picturesque town of Katsunuma, about 200 kilometers from Tokyo, offers an excellent opportunity in the form of the 'Katsunuma Grape Festival' (勝沼ぶどう祭り), in October.

Japan's Napa Valley

Known as Japan's answer to Napa Valley, the area has a cooler and drier climate than average for Japan and in fact grows a variety of fresh fruit, some non-grape varieties of which, find its way into locally made wine also. But upon arriving in town it's immediately clear that the grape is king. The vines, and the trellis structures that support them, are everywhere-in open lots, between buildings, in large fields.

Unlike the familiar 'California seedless' grape in the U.S., many varieties of wine grapes are also popular as table snacks in Japan and can be bought in bunches at farm markets and at the festival. The setting is made more scenic by the many traditional tiled and hipped rooftops of buildings. Add to that greenery covered mountains surrounding Katsunuma, and there's plenty of reason to visit even without the festival.

Also worthy of note is the Beaujolais festival, which happens in November and is centered around the 'Budo no Oka' wine promotion center. By then however, the vines are withered and the greenery has largely fled the hills, so for photo opportunities the October festival is a better choice.

For regular news on Yamanashi Prefecture, look no further than the "Official Tourism Website of Mount Fuji in Yamanashi Prefecture 'Home of Mt.Fuji, Yamanashi'"!
https://www.yamanashi-kankou.jp/foreign/english/topics/topicslist.html

The festival has tents arranged in a large circle, with wines on one side and food on the other-there is no worry about drinking on an empty stomach. There is also a stage with live music, and several small parades with participants carrying 'Mikoshi' portable shrines.

As for the wine itself, Japanese wine in general tends more toward light and refreshing. Tipplers seeking European-style depth and complexity may have some trouble finding something to their liking, but if you're open to the experience of trying wines from an amazing country famed not least for it's food & drink, with a long history... just not in winemaking, there is plenty of variety, from bone-dry to very sweet, and as mentioned before several fruit wines are also on offer. Market giant Mercian has a tent, as well as numerous smaller vintners. Those traveling by car - and able to observe the no drinking and driving caveat - can also visit numerous wineries in the area. All in all it's a very worthwhile journey.

A good list of the surrounding Wineries can be found in this article from Japan National Tourism Organization
http://japan-magazine.jnto.go.jp/en/1110_winery.html

GoodPeople image

GoodPeople

Australia

GoodPeople's other advice

Japan's Theme Parks images

Japan's Theme Parks

For visitors and long-term residents alike who may be looking for an interesting-and uniquely Japanese-way to spend a day, a good choice is one of Japan`s theme parks. These places offer a range of a…

Dances with Demons images

Dances with Demons

One doesn't have to look far to see how pervasive dance is in Japan. Nearly every pop group has an intricate dance routine to accompany their performances. There are studios which teach everything fr…

Japan has an annual Ninja Festa (Kids welcome!) images

Japan has an annual Ninja Festa (Kids welcome!)

Iga-Ueno City's Ninja Festival celebrates Japan's famed warriors and its place in their history. Few iconic figures are more closely identified with Japan than the ninja; a combination of elite w…

Something unique to do in Tokyo if you like Sushi images

Something unique to do in Tokyo if you like Sushi

There is a chain of quality Sushi restaurants that was founded in Japan more than 90 years ago in 1924, called Tamasushi*.In Tsukiji -- the area famous for the world’s largest fish market and ind…

"If you knew Sushi..." images

"If you knew Sushi..."

Tama Sushi, their HQ and prime restaurant in the area famous for the largest wholesale fish market in the world, Tsukiji, invited three lucky DeepJapan senpai to try their 'Nigiri Sushi Experience', …

Japan: A World-class Destination for Global Business Conventions (…and MICE) images

Japan: A World-class Destination for Global Business Conventions (…and MICE)

My keen interest in social and business networking focused on ‘Business in Japan’, keeps me updated on the numerous International Conferences, expositions and trade fairs that happen year-around.ht…

You might also like

Ride The Tokyo Metro Like A Boss With These Apps images

Ride The Tokyo Metro Like A Boss With These Apps

To people new to Japan, the Tokyo subway system, stylishly called "Tokyo Metro" is a confusing labyrinth of lines going every which way. Orderly thought and planning, it would appear, seem to be the…

jdlawrence image

jdlawrence

What to do at a Japanese Funeral | Funeral Etiquette images

What to do at a Japanese Funeral | Funeral Etiquette

Attending a Japanese funeral can be stressful, even shocking, if you don't know what to do. The more you know beforehand the better, as you'll be able to comfort and support mutual friends and their …

Former Deep Japan Writer image

Former Deep Japan Writer

Bringing Your Meds To Japan? Study The Laws A Little. images

Bringing Your Meds To Japan? Study The Laws A Little.

For a long time, the ubiquitous sinus medicine Vicks Inhaler was the butt of jokes among resident foreigners in Japan. Signs used to grace airport terminals with the familiar cream-and-green device…

jdlawrence image

jdlawrence

Know your Receipts in Japan! images

Know your Receipts in Japan!

Are you in Japan on business and working with a Japanese firm? Will you be taking your clients out for a meal?Recently I have been doing some consulting work for one of Japan’s eminent Chinese cuis…

 image

Mt. Fuji access guide; trains and buses for Lake Kawaguchiko area. images

Mt. Fuji access guide; trains and buses for Lake Kawaguchiko area.

If you will visit Mount Fuji (富士山), Kawaguchiko Station (河口湖駅) or Mt. Fuji Station (富士山駅) are major gateways for magical Mount Fuji, designated as a world cultural heritage site in 2013, a…

Hagi image

Hagi

Why Do Japanese People Call Mt. Fuji, Mr. Fuji? images

Why Do Japanese People Call Mt. Fuji, Mr. Fuji?

If you wondered why Japanese people refer to Mt. Fuji as Mr. Fuji, you are not alone.When I first came to Japan, and actually until about two years ago, well okay, actually it still happens a lot…

 image