Wine tour in Katsunuma, home to Koshu wine
In Yamanashi prefecture, Katsunuma lies in the beautiful countryside north of Mount Fuji. Katsunuma area is one of the Japan’s most famous kingdoms of fruit where grapes, peaches and plums are grown. The history of grape-growing is long and it has started in about the 17th century. There are 31 wineries, large and small, in Katsunuma where 27% of Japanese wine is produced. In October when vines are laden with grapes, lots of people come to enjoy visiting wineries and grape picking.
Let’s start with the well-known winery of Mercian called Chateau Mercian. At Chateau Mercian, the entire process of winemaking is explained. Also, you can take a tour typical of wineries which allows you to visit a building with a history and a cellar where wine is stored and to look at barrels used for fermentation and bottling process. The highlight is wine tasting. The winery has limited-edition wine which can be purchased only at the winery.
After learning about wine, the next stop is a simple but long-established winery, Haramo Wine. You can pick grapes here starting from September through October. Wine grapes that can be picked vary depending on the season, but the grapes known worldwide are available to pick. There is a nice café converted from an old residence where you can have the luxury of spending leisurely time enjoying wine and lunch.
Have all the three delights to yourself: wine, Japanese Southern Alps and hot spring.
After enjoying wine that is very appealing at wineries, visit “Budo no Oka (Grape Hill),” a famous spot for Katsunuma wine. The visitors can enjoy the view of surrounding vineyards as well as a mountain range of the Japanese Southern Alps to the west. The feature of “Budo no Oka” is irresistible for wine lovers. If you buy a tastevin in 1,100 yen, you can enjoy tasting more than 150 varieties of wine at the underground wine cellar. It is, so to speak, “all you can drink” place. Please be careful not to drink too much. And of course you can buy the wine you liked. You can also take the beautifully designed tastevin with you as a souvenir.
Budo no Oka has a wine restaurant, a shop, a hotel and a barbecue restaurant. The wine restaurant is much recommended as it has a great view and tasty foods which are mainly Western cuisine. Another thing to be recommended is “Tenku no Yu (Bath in the sky),” a hot spring you can stop by. You can bathe in the Japanese style hot spring at a reasonable price. The view of Japanese Southern Alps from the open-air bath is magnificent.
About 1 hour 30 minutes by JR Chuo Line Limited express “Azusa” or “Kaiji” from Tokyo “Shinjuku” Station to “Katsunuma-budokyo” Station
Access: About 8- min by taxi from JR Chuo Main Line “Katsunuma-budokyo” Station
Closed: Tuesday and the year-end through the New Year period
Hours: 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Access: 20-min walk from JR Chuo Main Line “Katsunuma-budokyo” Station
Closed: Open year-round
Winery Tours: (From August through October are excluded.) 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Reservation: Phone 0553-44-0121
Budo no Oka
Access: Right outside JR Chuo Main Line “Katsunuma-budokyo” Station
Closed: Open year-round
Hours: Wine Cave: 9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. (Entrance accepted until 5:00 p.m.)
Wine restaurant with a view: 11:30 a.m – 8:00 p.m. (Last order)
Hot spring house “Tenku no Yu”: 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. (Last admission)
Suntory Tomi no Oka Winery
Enjoy picking fully-ripened wine grapes, visiting a winery and tasting the latest vintages produced from grapes picked this year straight from the barrels in a cellar.
Date: September 10 (Sat.) – November 27 (Sun.), 2011
Time: 9:30 a.m. – 4:40 p.m.
Suntory Tomi no oka Winery
Access: About 15-min by Taxi from JR Chuo Main Line “Ryuo” Station or “Shiozaki” Station
A free shuttle bus service is available from JR Kofu station on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays. Depart Kofu station at:9:45 11:45 13:45
Hours: 9:30 a.m. – 4:40 p.m.