The town of Katsunuma () in the Kofu basin is an important center of Japanese wine making, being the birthplace of the Japanese wine industry. Today the area remains the top producer of wines that are made using only Japanese grapes, and it is a popular tourist destination with a large concentration of wineries at which visitors can buy, taste and learn about many aspects of Japanese wine.

The Kofu basin has a long history of grape cultivation. The Koshu grape that is used to produce much of the region's wine is thought to have arrived in Japan over a thousand years ago. Wine making began in the 19th century, led by individuals who brought back skills learned in Europe. With high amounts of sunshine, the Kofu basin is well suited to vinicluture relative to others areas in Japan, and now there are over 70 wineries in Katsunuma and the surrounding region.

The region's wineries range widely in what they offer visitors. Many operate shops that sell the winery's products and offer wine tasting, while a few also conduct tours of the winery or offer workshops about the different aspects of wine. Below is a list of some of the area's more notable wineries and wine-related attractions:

  • Chateau Mercian
    Hours: 9:30 to 16:30
    Tours: 3000 yen (90 minutes)
    Closed: No closing days
    Access: 45 minute walk or 5 minute taxi ride from Katsunumabudokyo Station
  • Miyakoen
    Hours: 9:30 to 16:30 (entry until 16:00)
    Admission: 200 yen
    Closed: Tuesdays (or next day if Tuesday is a holiday), New Year holidays
    Access: Located next to the Chateau Mercian (see above)
  • Budo no Oka
    Wine cellar hours: 9:00 to 17:30 (entry until 17:00)
    Wine cellar: 1520 yen
    Closed: No closing days
    Access: 20-30 minute walk or short taxi ride from Katsunumabudokyo Station
  • L'Orient
    Hours: 9:00 to 16:30
    Winery tours: from 550 yen
    Closed: No closing days
    Access: One hour walk or 10 minute taxi ride from Katsunumabudokyo Station
  • Haramo
    Hours: 9:00 to 17:00
    Closed: No closing days
    Access: 20-30 min walk or 5 min taxi ride from Katsunumabudokyo Station

Getting there and around

Important note: Japan enforces a strict zero-tolerance drinking and driving policy.

The Katsunuma area is located on the eastern edge of the Kofu Plain, 20-25 minutes by train from Kofu Station. The area is served by two stations along the frequently operating JR Chuo Line: Enzan Station (330 yen one way from Kofu) and Katsunumabudokyo Station (420 yen from Kofu). Unfortunately, most wineries are not located within easy walking distance of the stations, and buses operate only very infrequently.

There are two loop bus lines that connect the two train stations with selected wineries and attractions in the area, but they operate only about once every 3 hours, making them close to impractical for getting around. Alternatively, most wineries are located within 15 minutes and 2000 yen by taxi from Katsunumabudokyo Station.

Rental cars are available from outlets around Kofu Station; however, a dedicated driver will be required because of Japan's strict drink and driving laws.

How to get to and around Kofu