Katsunuma Wine Tour

Katsunuma Wine Tour

         ~ A day trip from Tokyo

Have you ever tried Japanese wine?

Although some visitors from overseas might not  know it, Japan has been producing wine since the late 1800s.

As in Europe and the United States, visits to Japanese wineries are a popular activity.

The Katsunuma area in Yamanashi Prefecture lies in the beautiful countryside at the foot of Mt. Fuji.  It is believed to be the site of the first commercial winery in Japan and nowadays hosts vineyards growing a variety of grapes as well as a number of Japan's most famous wineries.

Katsunuma is also well-known for its fruit, especially grapes, peaches and plums.

I went there to taste the region's famous Koshu wine. To get the most out of my visit, I joined a wine tour from Tokyo organized by Club Tourism.

During the 90-minute bus ride to the area, our tour guide explained that grapes have been cultivated for over 1,200 years in the Koshu region (Yamanashi Prefecture) because of its suitable climate, i.e. low rainfall and a lot of sunshine.

There are more than 40 wineries in Katsunuma where almost 30% of Japanese wine is produced. Japanese wines have been gaining popularity in recent years thanks to the efforts of the winemakers and local farmers.

Many of the winemakers have studied winemaking in Europe while the farmers have worked hard to achieve a higher sugar content in the grapes. Some of the Katsunuma wines have even won gold or silver medals in international wine competitions.


First, we went to a vineyard (Kanehara-en) for grapes picking. Dark violet Berry A grapes were very sweat and tasty! It was fun to cut a bunch of grapes in the vineyard and eat as much as you like.  There were barbecue restaurant and shop where you can buy all sorts of grapes.


Then we visited the following four wineries.  We learned that each winery has its own feature and tradition, and the highlight was a tasting of their specialty wine. 


 -  Lumiere Winery - A traditional boutique winery established in 1885.

 -  Chateau Katsunuma - Founded in 1877, the oldest winery in Katsunuma. f

 -  Manns Wines - A subsidiary of Kikkoman Co., famous for soy sauce. The factory was larger in scale than others.

 -  Morita Koshu Winery (the brand name is "Chanmoris" ) was founded in 1881 as a Miso and Soy sauce maker in Edo Period.  We bought two bottles of wine here and the red wine was mild and tasty! 


We had a lunch at Budo-no-Oka (Grape Hill), where you can enjoy the view of a mountain range of the Japanese Southern Alps to the west. It has a wine restaurant where we had a wine burger lunch, a shop, a hotel and a barbecue restaurant.

Stone Fermentation Tank (National Cultural Asset), Lumiere Winery


Itinerary: Club Tourism

The bus started at 7:40 a.m. from Ueno. ➡ Vineyard in Katsunuma ➡ Lumiere Winery➡ Chate au Katsunuma ➡ Lunch at the Grape Hill  ➡ Manns Wine  ➡ Morita Koshu Winery➡ Ueno arrived around 18:00.

The travel fee : ¥8,990.-